Dosher launches nurse navigator for total joint replacements


One of the keys to a successful operation is an educated and well-prepared patient. It's a reason that Dosher has started a new joint care program, Total Joint Experience, for patients undergoing surgery to replace their knees, hips or other joints.

"It's a class that can help them with their journey," Chelsea Cannon, RN, Nurse Navigator for the program, says. It's a short, multi-faceted course that covers the important information necessary for the surgery, from preparing for the procedure at home, to what happens the day of the surgery, and what's necessary for proper healing after release from the hospital.

Kim York, RN, Director of Surgical Services at Dosher, says Cannon was an ideal choice to lead this program, "She's knowledgeable and enthusiastic." She has a lot of experience with joint replacement. Her training as a nurse has included time in orthopedic surgery.

"I like the challenge of it," Cannon says. "And my husband had a total joint replacement, so I know how life-changing they can be."

She is offering the class on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. They typically take place 11 a.m. to noon and include tea, coffee and snacks or sandwiches. Participants listen to Cannon's presentation and get a handbook to take home. "Some people really respond to written or verbal information, so we try to cover everything in a variety of formats."

Attendees also get to hear from people on the joint replacement team, from case managers to physical therapists.

"It is a great opportunity for our total joint replacement customers to meet their team and have their questions answered. Our goal is for our customers to achieve the best outcome from their experience here at Dosher," York says.

Cannon says that giving patients a chance to learn from their caregivers can offer them more confidence in the surgery. "I know this group and they all have such high standards for the care they provide," Cannon says. "I'm happy to be their cheerleader."

The joint-care classes also allow patients to meet others who are going through the same experiences.

"They can bond and form relationships," Cannon says. One of them might have questions that the others didn't and vice versa. "It's almost like a support group. They chat after the program and wish each other luck." The idea of surgery can cause anxiety for some patients. "The class can help reassure people and help them know what to expect," York adds.

The Total Joint Experience also covers lesser-known aspects of the procedure. They instruct on how to use a spirometer, which can help patients take deep breaths that remove secretions that can accumulate in lungs. Patient also learn what assistive devices they should have at home-such as reacher/grabber, shower chair or long-handled sponge-and under what circumstances they should call their doctors once they've been discharged.

Other benefits include learning more about the place where they'll have the surgery. Dosher reported a zero infection rate for 2016, Cannon says. The hospital also has a high-tech Hana® table, which allows for a less painful hip replacement surgery, and a much faster recovery. For more information, call 910-457-3944.

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