Once seen by their G.P, patients are referred to either an orthopaedic consultant at their local hospital or directly to SWLEOC. Once a decision has been made that surgery is necessary, then a referral form is sent to SWLEOC.
Patients are then telephoned by a nurse and asked some questions regarding current health and previous medical history to ensure that they are fit to proceed with surgery.
After the telephone assessment has been carried out and a patient is considered fit to proceed, they will be invited into SWLEOC Pre-Assessment Clinic, where a range of tests is undertaken. This includes checking blood pressure, lung function, blood and urine tests and taking swabs to check for infections such as MRSA. The Advanced Nurse Practitioner carrying out the assessment will also ask a series of questions about the patient’s health. An ECG (tracing the health of the heart), may also be taken. In some cases, patients may need to talk to an anaesthetist. This is also a chance for the patient to raise any concerns about the operation or post-operative recovery.
Once the patient has been confirmed fit to proceed with surgery, a Scheduler will be in touch to discuss possible dates for surgery. The Scheduler will also be able to help with any questions or concerns the patient has at this point, to help reassure them.
Every patient is issued with a booklet called ‘Your Patient Journey Booklet’. The booklet has been designed to help guide patients through their journey from beginning to end. The aim of the booklet is to help prepare patients for their surgery and hospital experience, to help patients through their recovery stage following the operation and to help prepare for recovery at home.
After a date has been set, a letter confirming the date of the operation and an information pack will be sent out. It includes a DVD which patients are encouraged to watch about being in the Centre and also about the physiotherapy which patients will need to do after the operation. The DVD will give them a chance to begin practising the physiotherapy exercises. 24 to 48 hours prior to the operation, the patient will receive a phone call from a nurse in the Pre-Theatre team to check that nothing has changed since the pre-assessment. They will be particularly keen to know if the patient has been unwell or has been to see their doctor, as this may mean the operation has to be postponed. The nurse will tell the patient what time they will need to arrive at the Centre on the day of the surgery, what time they must stop eating and drinking and what tablets they can or can’t take on the day.
On arrival, patients must report to the Centre's Reception Desk in the main building. They wait in reception until they are called up to Pre-Theatre. A member of the family or a carer or a friend is welcome to accompany a patient to Pre-Theatre. Here, patients are prepared for surgery and will have an opportunity to speak to the Anaesthetist and the Orthopaedic Consultant and will be asked to sign the relevant consent forms.
After theatre, patients are taken to the Post Anaesthetic Care Unit (PACU) to recover. They will normally stay there for a few hours, although, in some cases, patients may stay overnight.
Once patients leave PACU, they are cared for on either Oaks Ward or Derby Ward. It’s here the hard work starts with the physiotherapists! The aim is to get patients up and mobile as soon as possible and there will be one or two physiotherapy sessions a day to encourage and support them.
The Discharge Co-ordinator will see patients every day to monitor their progress and to discuss what arrangements will be needed to ensure their safe and continuing recovery after discharge from hospital. There are milestones a patient needs to achieve before they are discharged and these will be discussed with the patient after they have been admitted to the ward.