Nova Scotia Health opening new Orthopedic Assessment Clinic in New Glasgow this fall
Nova Scotia Health will mark another major milestone in its plan to improve access and care for joint replacement patients, with the opening of a new Orthopedic Assessment Clinic in New Glasgow this fall.
Enhancing and expanding Orthopedic Assessment Clinics was a key strategy within the multi-year Hip and Knee Action Plan announced in the fall of 2017 with support from the Department of Health and Wellness.
The plan committed to increase resources available to support patients through existing clinics in Halifax, Kentville and Sydney, satellite Orthopedic Assessment Clinics including clinics in Liverpool, Sackville and Inverness, as well as the addition of two new clinics in Dartmouth and New Glasgow.
Fast forward nearly three years, and prior to COVID-19, steady gains had been made to increase the number of hip and knee joint replacement surgeries being completed, while transforming how care is delivered to patients with hip or knee joint arthritis.
In the past patients were referred to individual surgeons and then awaited a consultation date to discuss their condition and the potential for surgery.
In the fall of 2018, Nova Scotia Health introduced a new intake approach that sees all patient referred to an Orthopedic Assessment Clinic for more timely initial assessments, often within several weeks of being referred.
The plan has placed a much greater focus on wellness.
This includes supports to help patients manage their arthritis, better supports for patients who are not yet candidates for surgery, pre-habilitation to help optimize patients for surgery and a greater focus on mobility, before and after surgery.
The wellness model is intended to offer all patients several week of pre-habilitation to prepare them for their surgery and recovery.
However, space limitations prevented some joint replacement sites from fully implementing these group activity and education classes.
With the opening of the new Orthopedic Assessment Clinic in Dartmouth in February 2020, and the remaining new Orthopedic Assessment Clinic set to open at 10 North Novie Drive in New Glasgow this fall, patients of all five joint replacement sites will have access to the full range of services under the wellness model.
Features of the new Orthopedic Assessment Clinics include gym spaces, classrooms and larger clinic spaces, which will allow the Orthopedic Assessment Clinic and pre-habilitation team to offer the services that patients at other sites have been benefitting from.
“Our team has worked hard to support surgical patients in preparation for their joint replacement surgeries, but space has been a challenge to offer the expanded program. We have been limited to one in person group pre-habilitation session off-site, combined with ongoing phone follow-ups leading up to and after surgery,” said Tanya MacDonald, Nova Scotia Health’s health services manager for Rehabilitation Services and the Orthopedic Assessment Clinic at Aberdeen Hospital.
“We are looking forward to launching our expanded programming and are thankful for this new space and to the Aberdeen Health Foundation, who have committed the funds needed to cover gym equipment and other clinic equipment.”
In addition to the investments in space and equipment, a total of 106 full-time positions have been added through the Hip and Knee Action Plan to date, including more than 40 new roles needed to enhance and expand orthopedic assessment clinics and pre-habilitation programing across the province.
Government has committed more than $40 million to the plan to improve access and care.
Note: Due to COVID-19 teams are having to adapt how Orthopedic Assessment Clinic visits and pre-habilitation programs are offered, with efforts underway to offer some programs virtually and a shift to smaller group sizes.