New Ipswich Hospital team shaves two days off length of stay for joint replacement patients

Ipswich Hospital's enhanced recovery programme team. Picture: PAGEPIX

Ipswich Hospital's enhanced recovery programme team. Picture: PAGEPIX - Credit: Archant

A new project at Ipswich Hospital is helping hip and knee replacement patients return home faster and is freeing up vital beds.

The enhanced recovery programme (ERP) has seen length of stay reduce from an average of five days to just over three since its introduction a year ago.

The aim is to make sure patients receive the right education before surgery while getting them up and moving shortly after their operation so that they can retain their independence and recover more quickly.

More than 750 patients have benefitted from the programme so far and trust bosses say they have provided positive feedback.

At the same time, the ERP is also allowing the hospital to treat more patients by discharging them safely at an earlier stage.

Louie Horne, matron at the musculoskeletal unit, said: “We are delighted with the success of the ERP since its launch.

“Not only has it helped hundreds of patients to get back to enjoying their usual lives more quickly after surgery, but is also improving their experience of having a joint replacement at our hospital.

Most Read

“The ERP empowers patients to help themselves while also ‘de-medicalising’ their stay by encouraging them to get out of bed and get dressed, sit out for meals and walk to the toilet, just as they would at home.

“Our therapy staff aim to see every patient three times a day so that they can get them back on their feet safely and effectively, which has made a massive difference and means they are better prepared for their discharge as they will not have lost any of their strength or mobility.”

She added: “Some patients may be surprised that we are encouraging them to get up and about so quickly, but evidence shows that staying active is a really important element of recovery after a joint replacement operation.”

The team also ensures any equipment patients may need after they go home is in place as soon as possible to prevent delays in discharge.

Staff have changed their working hours to 8am to 8pm so they can see patients regularly.

The dedication of professionals involved in the project, including lead physiotherapist Lyndsey Smith who has been the main driver, was recognised at the hospital’s recent staff awards, where they were named as team of the year.