A new pathway has been created for joint replacement patients in Hartlepool – to help provide the safest and highest quality of care to patients in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The improvements mean a new route through the University Hospital of Hartlepool for patients visiting for surgery.
The main change involves the moving of the elective care unit into a previously vacant space on the other side of the hospital’s main block.
The move means patients having surgery can be taken via a lift directly from the operating theatre to the unit.
Carol Bowler, senior clinical practitioner, said: “Over the last few weeks we have been reassuring patients that it is very safe to come into hospital for your appointment or your operation.
“A number of measures have been taken at Hartlepool including suspending visitors, creating a one-way system and providing different entrances for patients depending where they have their appointment.
“Any patient coming for surgery is asked to self-isolate for three days before.
“When they visit they are asked to use the main entrance where there is a one-way system.
“They are then welcomed to the hospital’s access lounge/day case unit entrance where the team have a checklist of questions.”
Gillian Brown, is staff nurse in the day case unit. She continued: “We meet the patient at the entrance, ask them a series of questions and take their temperature.
“This is all around ensuring patients are safe to come in for surgery. Patients are then allocated a room and from there they go for their operation.
“A hospital domestic is in the unit at all times to make sure it is professionally cleaned regularly.”
Patients are taken directly to the joint replacement unit after surgery. New ward matron Dannii Appleby and new nursing sister Alexandra Higgins and the team welcome them.
Dannii said: “It’s fantastic to have joined such a committed and dedicated team who go above and beyond for patients.
“The team have embraced the new move and know it’s only for the benefit of our patients.
“The new layout means that any patient being transported to the ward after surgery does not come into contact with any other area of the hospital.
“We do not allow visiting in the unit, except under special circumstances.
“Staff in the unit wear the necessary personal protective equipment and do not mix with other clinical teams in ‘red’ areas where patients with suspected cases of COVID-19 are. Staff are also practising good hand hygiene and social distancing.
“Follow up appointments are being held virtually over the phone or video. Although face-to-face physiotherapy clinics will be held over the coming weeks where appropriate.
“The Homeward team will also be restarting their fantastic education classes very soon. These are held before patients have surgery and are vital to help them have the most successful recovery.
“All of these developments are helping improve the way we do things and the care we provide to our patients in these challenging times.”