Better information for Bay of Plenty patients about what to expect before, during and after total hip or knee replacements is helping them get back on their feet faster.
As part of a national programme, the Bay of Plenty District Health Board has been providing weekly education classes at both Tauranga and Whakatane hospitals.
At the sessions, well in advance of surgery, patients learn what to expect and what they can do to aid their recovery.
Maketu man Charles Peni, who had a knee replacement earlier this year, credits the information with getting him back on his feet faster.
“I knew the operation was going to be a major. And I know plenty of people who've had knee replacements and who've had a slow recovery. Having education sessions and all the information at my fingertips well before my operation meant I was well prepared.”
Charles had his operation in Whakatane Hospital in March. After three nights in hospital he was able to go home.
Since the sessions were introduced, the average time total hip and knee replacement patients have had to stay in hospital has dropped from four to three days. It's also below the national average.
“Making sure patients are well informed before their surgery is really important. It helps them prepare, both physically and mentally and recover quicker which helps to reduce the risk of complications,” says service improvement programme manager Wendy Carey.
A comprehensive handbook on the process is also provided. Ninety-one per cent of hip and knee replacement patients surveyed this year rated the handbook as highly valuable, while 98 per cent said they felt well prepared for their surgery and discharge from hospital having read the book.
Charles Peni is well on the recovery path. He was playing competitive tennis prior to surgery and he's adamant he'll be back on the court this season.
“I'm following the advice and now having physiotherapy on my knee at Tauranga Hospital. Where I live I could go to either hospital. I had my op in Whakatane Hospital but a physio appointment came up in Tauranga, so I opted for that. It really makes no difference to me the staff have been great at both hospitals.”
Charles says his knee's getting better every day. He's even managed a short jog to the odd lamppost.
“I've always believed in keeping yourself fit. Some of our tennis club members are in their 80s and still going strong and I plan to do the same.”