NIAGARA, Ontario: A new clinic for patients with hip and knee problems is focused on finding possible non-surgical solutions – and also reducing wait times for joint replacement surgeries when they are required.
“The goal of this new program is to help patients stay active as long as they can and prepare them for surgery if required.”
Dr. Bryan Rittenhouse
Chief of Orthopedics
Niagara Health System
“When you can no longer get in and out of a car or climb stairs without pain, it’s time to have an assessment, and this clinic is unique because it’s focusing on more than surgical interventions to improve patients’ quality of life,” says Clinical Manager Monica Koepke.
The Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Local Health Integration Network (HNHB LHIN) has developed the new Regional Joint Assessment Program in Brantford, Hamilton and Niagara. At the Greater Niagara General Site in Niagara Falls, the outpatient clinic serves patients from across the region who can be referred by their family physician or orthopedic surgeon. The program gives patients the choice of seeing the next available surgeon to manage their condition if there is a long wait list for the surgeon to whom they have already been referred.
“We expect to see up to 20 patients per week at the clinic, but if there is a need for more clinic time, we will expand,” Monica says. “Each appointment is about 45 minutes long, and patients will have their appointment within two weeks of referral.”
In many cases, surgery is not the only answer, and the clinic is staffed by an advanced practice physiotherapist who carries out a thorough functional assessment of the patient’s flexibility. This information helps the orthopedic surgeon as he/she evaluates the patient’s medical complexity. Together, the team will diagnose and make treatment recommendations, including the urgency level if joint replacement surgery is necessary.
The OHIP-covered clinic specializes in preventive options, diagnosis and therapy. Treatment options range from conservative management such as physiotherapy and nutrition management, to intermediate interventions such as arthroscopy or cortisone injections, all the way to total joint replacement surgery.
For more information, go to www.replacemyjoint.ca, call 905-378-4647, ext. 53110, or 1-888-868-5568.
“Having an advanced practice physiotherapist complete a thorough assessment of the patient and create an individualized plan of care will help them manage joint pain and optimize their mobility and quality of life. The goal of this new program is to help patients stay active as long as they can and prepare them for surgery if required.”
Dr. Bryan Rittenhouse, Chief of Orthopedics
“The Regional Joint Assessment Programs have played an integral role in patient care and patient access in other parts of our LHIN. This clinic at the Niagara Falls hospital will help to manage the growing demand for total hip and knee replacements and help to reduce wait times for surgery in Niagara.”
Donna Cripps, HNHB LHIN CEO