The addition of hip replacements reduces wait times for patients throughout the region and cuts down on overcrowding in The Ottawa Hospital

The first two hip replacement patients at KDH: Bryne Nuttall (left) and Maureen Mindach cut a celebratory cake while KDH Auxiliary volunteers Catherine Brunton (left) and Louise Tallman look on

The first two hip replacement patients at KDH: Bryne Nuttall (left) and Maureen Mindach cut a celebratory cake while KDH Auxiliary volunteers Catherine Brunton (left) and Louise Tallman look on

Surgeons at Kemptville District Hospital (KDH) performed hip replacement surgery there for the first time this week, thanks to an expansion of the hospital’s orthopaedic surgery program.

This week’s recipients of new hips are patients of orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Joseph O’Neil, who operates at The Ottawa Hospital as well as at KDH, in an innovative partnership between the two hospitals that began last October. The partnership sees a roster of surgeons from both hospitals performing joint replacement procedures in Kemptville Hospital’s state of the art operating facilities, reducing wait times for patients throughout the region and cutting down on overcrowding in The Ottawa Hospital.

For the first hip replacement patients, having their surgery at KDH meant the constant pain is gone now, rather than months from now. It also meant experiencing a type of patient-focused care many have described as being treated like a member of the family. For Kemptville area residents, having orthopaedic surgery at KDH means care close to home, a goal of hospitals across the country.

Maureen Mindach was the first recipient of a new hip at KDH. She chose to have her operation in Kemptville rather than wait for a surgery date in Ottawa. Two days after her hip replacement, she reported no pain at all, only mild discomfort when standing. She found the staff at KDH “wonderful, very knowledgeable, and very helpful.” She also appreciated the contribution of Catherine Brunton, a volunteer with the KDH Auxiliary who spends time with total joint replacement patients at the PAU (Pre-Assessment) clinic as well as on the nursing unit post surgery.

Bryne Nuttall also received a new hip this week at KDH. His relief was tremendous, after living with the pain of osteoarthritis for four years. He expressed pleasure with his experience at KDH while enjoying a special cake brought in to celebrate the start of this new phase of the total joint replacement program.

Lowell “Bubba” Smith from Orleans had a total knee replacement this week. He also reported “very little, if any” pain. 24 hours after surgery he had already had two physiotherapy sessions, walking with the aid of a walker. He commented that he was “impressed with the facility and the people” and appreciated the “personal approach” of the hospital staff.

The day after their surgery, hip and knee replacement patients at KDH are helped out of bed by their physiotherapists, and begin the exercises they will continue for at least six weeks. The following day, after several walking sessions and practice on stairs, they are ready to be discharged. Tanya Collins is the newest Physiotherapist on the KDH team. She credits the preparation the patients receive at KDH with their speedy recovery. “The patients are extremely well prepared for surgery; they are motivated, and as a result they are up and moving very quickly,” she said. “They are set up to succeed,” she added.

Cathy Watson, Manager of Clinical Programs, believes that the pain management practices in place at KDH also help to speed recovery for joint replacement patients. While still in the OR, they receive a ‘cocktail’ of anti-inflammatories and pain medication that is administered into the affected joint. This combination is less sedating than the patient-controlled intravenous narcotics that are often used after joint replacement surgery. As a result, she explains, patients are up and moving sooner.

The addition of hip replacements to the orthopaedic surgery program at KDH meant the hiring of Occupational Therapists as well as additional Physiotherapists, and further training at The Ottawa Hospital. “There’s a lot more instrumentation with hip replacements,” explained KDH scrub nurse Linda Morton. She and the other scrub nurses participated in hip replacement surgery at The Ottawa Hospital. When the time came for the first hip replacements at KDH, “We were well organized and ready, and it went off without a hitch,” she stated.

KDH is one of only a handful of small community hospitals in North America performing this type of surgery. The hospital has a substantial capacity to perform joint replacement surgeries, and is not yet at capacity. KDH’s own orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Paul Shim, is accepting patients. People looking to have a knee or hip replacement performed at KDH or who are currently on a wait list but would like the procedure done sooner can have their family physicians fax a referral to the hospital at 613.258.8643.