Published: Synapse 2013, Vol. 2
Strong healthy bones and joints are what keep our bodies moving through life, whether at work or at play. When they are damaged either by injury or by the wear-and-tear of aging, the painful result can make it difficult to continue routine parts of life like walking, exercising, gardening, or even lifting a child.
No matter what your age, you want to stay as active and fully engaged in life as possible. When bone or joint-related issues get in the way of everyday activities, having access to top-notch orthopedic care may mean the difference between functioning at your highest ability or having to settle for a more sedentary lifestyle.
At The Chester County Hospital and Health System, you have local access to a comprehensive orthopedic program dedicated to treating the many bone and joint-related problems that can interfere with an active life. Its program offers the expertise and advanced technologies necessary to treat all types of orthopedic conditions, from sports injuries and fractures to joints that need replacing. And the program continues to evolve to stay current with new developments in the field and to keep up with the increasing number of patients in the community who will benefit from the latest orthopedic procedures.
As part of the Health System's commitment to expanding an already sophisticated orthopedics program, the Hospital included a new, high-tech orthopedic surgical unit in plans for the Hospital's soon-to-be realized third floor of its new Tower. Set to open for patients in January 2014, the new unit will house 24 new private rooms dedicated exclusively to the post-operative care of patients who have undergone orthopedic surgeries. It will offer the very latest in specialized inpatient services, including the most current technologies and patient amenities. The new space has been carefully designed to make the first hours and days of recovery following surgery as productive and comfortable as possible.
"We've always provided great care for our orthopedic patients of all ages. But the demographics in our community are such that the number of orthopedic patients in the area will be growing exponentially over the next 10 years as the population matures. Combine aging with a generation that is more active than those before them will lead to a lot of worn out joints and a significant increase in the need for orthopedic care," says Chet Simmons, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon.
"We keep growing our orthopedic program so we can continue to provide local access to the level of care our community needs and deserves. We are bringing in new doctors and expanding our capabilities. And the new unit will allow us to offer the highest level of care and patient comfort for a rapid recovery and rehabilitation. This is an exciting time for us here at Chester County and for our community."
The orthopedic program at The Chester County Hospital offers a full range of orthopedic services that supports each patient from diagnosis through recovery. The program's team of orthopedic surgeons represents a wide variety of expertise - with sub-specialties in spine, shoulder, hip, knee, foot and ankle surgeries - including the latest minimally-invasive and least traumatic surgical techniques that allow faster healing and recovery.
"We want our patients to feel confident they are getting the latest and greatest care available, especially those looking into joint replacement surgery," says Dr. Simmons. "It's important for people to know we are using state-of-the-art techniques and tools to replace joints, with minimal trauma and disruption to soft tissue. For example, we now perform what is called 'quadriceps sparing knee replacement,' where the quadriceps muscle is not cut during the operation, sparing muscles and tendons that historically have been cut during standard total knee replacement surgery."
The full continuum of care for joint replacement patients also includes extensive patient education. "We have written materials and all our joint replacement patients attend an educational class taught by physical therapists, nurses and discharge planners," explains John Gose, Director of Physical Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine. "Patients learn about all facets of their recovery before surgery so they feel a lot more comfortable about the unknowns. Their questions are answered, and they know upfront what the process is going to be from the time they have surgery until they are discharged and afterward."
Patients on the new unit will experience firsthand the focused attention and care The Chester County Hospital has put into making sure every base is covered for patients and staff. According to Cathy Weidman, RN, BSN, MPA, CNML, Director of Medical/Surgical Services, plans for the unit incorporated input from staff to create an efficient, comforting space where advanced orthopedic care is combined with an environment that has the community feel and caring atmosphere patients have come to expect from the Hospital.
"The whole floor is designed with patient and staff needs in mind. Patient rooms are larger, comfortable and very functional," Weidman says. "There's plenty of extra space for the equipment that may be necessary... like walkers, wheelchairs and so forth... with more room for our nurses and physical therapists to do their jobs in and around the room as they care for patients. All rooms and bathrooms are private, and accommodations have been included for visitors and family members who want to support the patient in recovering."
Rehabilitation is a crucial aspect of recovery for orthopedic surgery patients and begins as soon as possible following surgery. On the new unit, most physical therapy will take place in the specially equipped patient rooms. However, the unit will include a modern rehabilitation gym that features additional tools like a car simulator to help patients return to full function faster. Outpatient rehabilitation is also part of the journey and available through the orthopedic program at several locations in the community.
Pain management is another key element of recovery for orthopedic surgery patients. Fear of pain can sometimes keep people from considering surgeries that could greatly enhance their life. "One of the biggest advances in orthopedic surgeries over the last few years is how we manage pain," Dr. Simmons explains. "We have new medication regiments that attack pain from different angles and help to control it more effectively, which makes it possible for patients to rehab faster."
There are few things in life that can interfere with everyday activities quite as markedly as painful bone and joint-related issues. And there are few things that can improve quality of life as significantly for people suffering with such conditions as the services offered by a top-notch orthopedic program, which begins with pre-surgical education and continues through surgical and then post-operative care and therapy.
By Beth Eburn
Photos by Rick Davis
Patient Education Programs
Pre-Surgery Joint Replacement Education
Our team of experts provide a thoughtful educational program to teach what to expect before and after hip or knee replacement surgery. This course is designed to increase a patient's comfort level with the procedure.
Start Strong, Stay Strong - For Total Joint Replacement
For those who like to take a proactive approach to life, this program works to physically prepare patients for total joint replacement prior to the operation and enables a more aggressive and rapid rehabilitation after surgery.
Aquatic Therapy is the great way to begin to gain strength, endurance and coordination. It decreases weight bearing on joints, facilitates mobility, enhances muscle strengthening, and increases circulation in the arms, legs and trunk.
For information about these programs
and others, call 610.738.2300
Getting Back to Living
Locations for Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy
Fern Hill Medical Campus
915 Old Fern Hill Road
West Chester, PA 19380
Exton Medical and Diagnostic Building
Commons at Oaklands
700 West Lincoln Highway
Exton, PA 19341
Medical Building at New Garden
830 West Cypress Street
Kennett Square, PA 19348
Opening in 2014
Jenners Village Medical Campus
Routes 796 and 1
West Grove, PA 19390