Quicker recovery after new James Paget scheme

PATIENTS undergoing joint replacement surgery at the James Paget University Hospital are returning home earlier, thanks to a new scheme.

Just weeks after the launch of the Orthopaedic Enhanced Recovery for Patients scheme (Perp), there has been a dramatic rise in the number of people being able to leave just a few days after surgery. In the past, patients faced a stay of up to two weeks.

The key, according to the hospital, is taking the fear away, as well as localised pain medication, and encouraging patients to be out of bed within hours of the operation. This means they can be discharged only days later.

The first patient was admitted in November and, since then, 98 patients have undergone joint replacements – 42 for new hips and 56 for knees.

One of the main benefits for patients is the information given before they go into hospital with staff available to answer questions and allay fears.

Among the major changes to the treatment is the use of a lighter, local anaesthetic which is injected straight into the joint. Afterwards, patients are encouraged to get moving quickly with intensive physiotherapy four times a day. At home, after-care is available with a community physiotherapist provided by the Great Yarmouth and Waveney PCT.

Consultant orthopaedic surgeon Alban Bowers said it had been one of the most important changes to his practice, and consultant anaesthetist Dr Willy Notcutt said: “In general, the quality of analgesia, post-op wellbeing and mobilisation is the best I have seen in my career.”