Effective pain management will set your joint replacement program apart.
BY David Harwood, MD; and Dean Giacobbe, MD; and Stephen Kayiaros, MD
Doctor and nurse getting everything set for patient
BASIC BLOCK A peripheral nerve block is the starting point for perioperative analgesia.
Joint replacement surgery’s reputation for post-op pain can overshadow the procedure’s successful outcomes and even drive potential patients away from your facility. But it doesn’t have to. Perioperative planning, coordinated care and anesthetic efficiency will set your outpatient joint management program apart from inpatient recoveries. Here are 5 keys to sending patients home safely, comfortably and with pain under control after surgery.
1 Patient education
Managing post-op pain is the linchpin of our center’s outpatient total joint program. It’s ingrained into every stage of the perioperative process, and making sure that the patient is aware of that pays off in a big way.
Once patients decide to undergo same-day joint replacement, we have them in for a pre-op consultation visit. Scheduling time to educate patients well in advance of their surgeries is routine, but how you structure the meetings can make a huge difference in patient outcomes.
During this appointment, patients should meet with each of the members of their care team — the surgeon, nurses, anesthesia provider and physical therapist. For patients, the object is to learn, step by step, what will happen during their surgery. This includes how we intend to manage their pain, both pre-emptively and responsively, mobility considerations following surgery and exercises they can do to “prehabilitate” themselves.
For clinicians, pain management education is also an important contributor to the success of the procedure. It lets us hit the ground running on the day of surgery, as nearly all of our instructions have been covered during the initial pre-op visit, and patients are generally more at ease when they know what to expect.