Sunday, April 17, 2011

Designing for the Future

Momentum continues to build in orthopedic services at St. Joseph’s Hospital.  We launched our orthopedics master planning process this week.  Challenged by a growing orthopedic service, an existing orthopedic unit in an aging physical plant, and the need to integrate our orthopedic plan with other facets of the overall hospital master facility strategic plan, we enthusiastically gathered to initiate the process that will carry our expanding program into the future.
We asked ourselves many candid questions.  What is the future vision for the care delivery model and physical plant environment for joint replacement and other orthopedic patients?  How do we optimize the areas rendering services to orthopedics patients today and in the near future, while the longer term plan is developed and implemented?  These are tough questions with no easy answers.   We are, however, completely committed to advancing the care in a manner that is most meaningful to our patients--from their perspective.  We intend to create a unique patient and family experience that will result in safe, effective, timely, and efficient health care focused on quality outcomes and a high level of patient satisfaction.
To accomplish this we are assembling a multidisciplinary team of individuals closest to our patient processes—physicians, nurses, physician assistants, physical therapists, transporters, nutritional services staff, housekeepers, volunteers, and even past joint replacement patients themselves. The group and many others will work closely together during the next six months to develop short, mid, and long range plans to accomplish our goals for the physical plant and model of care delivery for our patients.
What will this most likely look like?  Dr. Anthony DiGioia has pioneered a patient and family-centered collaborative orthopedic model of care delivery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.  In his experience, focusing on the patient first results in outcomes that cannot be refuted.  The environment in which his patients and their families receive services is an important contributing factor to achieving these desired outcomes.  Our vision for design of the ideal orthopedic center or institute will focus on elements that will support these concepts. 
The design of our orthopedic units will focus on measures to provide a comfortable and at-home feeling for our patients and their families.  Our vision includes a high complement of private rooms that will have in-room amenities such as Internet access, family chairs that convert to beds for overnight stays, small freezers for ice packs, and ample space for easy navigation with crutches, walkers, and canes.  Satellite gym/fitness centers will be on the unit for ease of access and group therapy activities.  Patients and family members will be able to access café-style room service for meals at a time that is convenient for them and consistent with their individualized needs.  A family room complete with kitchen and dining areas will support a sense of community and camaraderie amongst the patients and families navigating the surgical and recovery experience together.  The gathering of these individuals promotes the wellness concept associated with the surgical experience and is intended to be inspirational to the recovery process. 
The project promises to be innovative and exciting.  As it unfolds and develops we will provide periodic updates in this blog.  The best is undoubtedly yet to come for orthopedics at St. Joseph’s!

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