Hip op patients gain from recovery project

Hip operation patient Megan Williams of Ettrick Valley with her physio Gillian Mitchell.
Hip operation patient Megan Williams of Ettrick Valley with her physio Gillian Mitchell.

Patients undergoing hip and knee operations at Borders General Hospital have been back on their feet in no time, thanks to a new project.

The Enhanced Recovery Programme, the first of its kind in a general hospital in Scotland, has seen recovery time at the BGH slashed, and patients up and walking on the same day as their operation.

The new process has also helped patients’ recoveries by reducing pain and the need for procedures such as blood transfusion.

The project team, which includes nurses, doctors, managers and other healthcare workers, has been supported by the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Clydebank.

Dr Ali Mehdi, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at the BGH, said: “The enhanced recovery process demonstrates that a focused team approach, involving NHS Borders in embracing shared objectives, improved patient experience.

“Apart from benefitting individual patients, the project has benefited patients as a group in the local area by creating the ability to deliver quicker local care in a safe environment.”

This reduction in overall recovery time has been cut for most patients from six days to just three, with some even able to go home the day after their operation.

A lot of this is down to the new way in which patients receive anaesthetics, with special pumps infusing the area with local anaesthetic.

A special ‘hip and knee school’ delivered to patients two weeks before their operation by physiotherapists and occupational therapists has also helped prepare patients better. The success of the programme is being confirmed in positive feedback from patients.

Damon Sommerville, senior charge nurse on the 
orthopaedic ward, added: “The whole process demonstrated, and continues to demonstrate, that all staff working together to a common goal has real benefits for patients.”