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The Ottawa Hospital provides joint replacement surgery for 12 Nunavut residents

March 26, 2012 The Ottawa Hospital, in partnership with Ottawa Health Services Network Inc. and Nunavut’s Department of Health and Social Services, arranged for 12 Nunavut residents to come to Ottawa for joint replacement knee surgery, a surgery they wouldn’t be able to receive at home.

Dr. Alan Giachino and Dr. Robert Feibel both see patients in the North. After realizing that they had a growing number of patients in the region who needed total knee replacements, Dr. Giachino proposed bringing 12 of these patients to The Ottawa Hospital at one time, thus optimizing funding and significantly improving the quality of their stay. By treating the patients as a group, the hospital was able to provide them with the opportunity to stay together and speak to each other in their own language, making them feel more at ease. To further reduce the impact on these Nunavut residents, the surgeries were scheduled for the week of March break, so as to avoid their hunting season. This timing also coincided with a scheduled slow down at The Ottawa Hospital, ensuring that Ontario patients were not impacted by the program.

This collaborative project was the result of great effort and teamwork from many inter-professional health-care teams. Physiotherapists from Iqaluit worked with The Ottawa Hospital to ensure that all knee surgery and exercise instruction booklets (translated into Inuktitut) were sent to the patients. The Nunavut health-care teams also received specialized pre-operative support from the Pre-Admission Unit Medical (Anesthesia) and Nursing leadership teams at The Ottawa Hospital to help select, optimize, evaluate and prepare patients for surgery in advance of leaving their home. This helped to reduce stress and ensure patients were ready for their surgical experience.

As part of this innovative pilot project, a new Ottawa Hospital pre-op screening tool was used by the Nunavut health-care teams to help evaluate and prepare patients for surgery remotely. The future goal of this pilot is to help facilitate more complex pre-op screening and remote assessment through telemedicine, which will allow patients to remain at home until closer to the day of surgery instead of coming to Ottawa weeks earlier for specialized pre-operative tests and assessment from an Anesthesiologist and Registered Nurse.

“This has been an example of exceptional team work and patient-centered care, involving The Ottawa Hospital, the Ottawa Health Services Network and the Nunavut government,” said Paula Doering, Senior Vice President of Clinical Programs. “We ensured that the 12 patients were selected appropriately and were well prepared for surgery.”

Media Contact:
Hazel Harding
Communications Advisor
Tel.: 613-737-8460