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Home monitoring after hip and knee surgery provides “safety net”


When Beth Taylor had her left knee surgery, The Ottawa Hospital’s home monitoring service provided the safety net she needed to feel comfortable going home the same day.

Having someone to call when her pain got out of control ensured she did not have to go back to the hospital to the Emergency Department.

“She was at home and had terrible pain,” said Susan Madden, Advanced Practice Nurse for the Acute Pain Service. “I could see her pain increasing on the monitor.” She talked to Taylor on the phone every few hours for a day.


Madden and Dr. Homer Yang, Anesthesiologist, recently won an Ontario Excellence Award for innovation for their Post-op Home Monitoring after Joint Replacement service. Patients go home with an electronic monitor that records pain scores, blood pressure, heart rate, and blood oxygen levels four times a day. When needed, alerts are emailed to the doctor or nurse’s iPhone: e.g. “ALERT, BP low.”

A research study, in which Taylor took part, showed that patients highly recommend the system.

“They by and large just loved it,” said Dr. Yang. “We’re not sending the patients home without a parachute.”

The study also showed cost savings of $3,372 per patient, on average.


Patient Beth Taylor said the home monitoring system that is sent home with patients after joint surgery is easy to use. It records pain scores, blood pressure, heart rate, and blood oxygen levels four times a day.

 “The big question is whether this becomes routine and standard for patients,” said Dr. Geoffrey Dervin, the orthopedic surgeon who performed Taylor’s surgery.

Similar home monitoring systems are used in some chronic disease management, but as far as they know, no other hospitals have a service like this one for post-surgical care at home.

“In an acute care setting, this is quite novel,” said Madden.

“To me, it’s a win for patients and it’s a win financially for the hospital,” said Taylor. “If it were not for my participation in this study, I would have skedaddled to the closest Emergency Department and prayed my wait was not three hours. I will be forever grateful for the safety net.”


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  • Donna Mulvihill, Office Manager, Finance says:

    I had a full right knee replacement in 2014 – day surgery – in at 6 a.m. and out by 6 p.m. Dr. Dervin prescribed a Game Day Device – a sleeve that wrapped around my knee and intermittently provided compression while circulating cold water 24/7. This device did wonders for the pain and swelling. I was discharged with the home monitoring kit which was carefully administered by my husband (wonderful nurse!). I was on pain medication for about a week but the pain was indeed short-lived as I was at the cottage and out in a kayak 3 weeks post surgery.
    Progress is being made by leaps and bounds and, as a result, saving the hospital $$$$ that are desperately needed elsewhere.
    Knowing what to expect, I’m somehow looking forward to having my left knee replaced.

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