Osteoarthritis - patients and clinicians - Tweed Hospital

Evan Bryant, Physiotherapist Specialised Osteoarthritis Service:  Leading Better Value Care is about the patient as part of the decision-making process and to inform them on the problem, what can be done to help, supporting the patient to more effectively manage their osteoarthritis.

Dr Jason Tsung, VMO Orthopaedic Surgeon:  The spectrum from early disease to late disease, there is this whole area in the middle which is not managed in a very consistent manner and so we certainly saw a need and value in trying to produce a service to give patients the ability to access good consistent care, to get optimum function and all of a sudden you get a patient who has got a painful minor arthritic knee, to a painless minor arthritic knee. So, in terms of their arthritis, that hasn't changed, but their function has dramatically improved.

Dr Brett Lynam, General Practitioner:  I was quite enthusiastic from the outset, for several reasons. One is obvious, you could see the patient benefit and the clinical benefit to patients, but also the integrated care really appeals to me, the idea of actually GP's and the Primary Health Network and the LHD and specialists and hospitals actually working together to get a result and communicating with each other. It's undoubtedly the way that medicine should be moving to.

Evan Bryant, Physiotherapist Specialised Osteoarthritis Service:  In the past, management of these issues has been mostly symptomatic. Often, we'd only try pain relief and if that didn't work then possibly referral to an orthopaedic surgeon to discuss joint replacement surgery. Where we now know there is a lot of other options, without going down the line of joint replacement surgery too soon or without giving other options a trial first.

Dr Jason Tsung, VMO Orthopaedic Surgeon:  We started this program as a pilot, trying to really identify, well is this something that we can improve in this space? Become both an effective service that will provide a lot of value for the community, as well as minimise specialist intervention at an earlier phase when it really wasn't required.

Dr Brett Lynam, General Practitioner:  Sometimes communication is the best way to get to simple changes like this, simple but effective changes across the line.

Sheila Pittaway, Patient:  Well, I've had problems with the knees for many years. I'm not able to walk really well and I was also taking a fair bit of medication for the pain. I refused to have an operation and I wanted to be able to stay in my own home and so we had to look for other options and this seemed like a good one.
 
Josephine Unsworth, Patient:  Everything was sort of getting worse and I started falling or my knees would give way. That was horrifying because until you've lost confidence in something you take for granted like walking, you don't know how inhibitive that can be and now, I don't need walking sticks. I am confident that my legs are doing the work.

Evan Bryant, Physiotherapist Specialised Osteoarthritis Service:  Of the patients that have been through the program so far, two out of three have reported that their pain has improved or their knee or hip function to have improved and two out of three have reported that their walking has improved.
 
Dr Brett Lynam, General Practitioner:  Anecdotally from my patients I'd say at least probably three out of five of my patients have avoided or declined surgery, gone away from the surgery path.

Josephine Unsworth, Patient:  I have so much to thank the program for. How do you say thank you when something's given you your freedom, your confidence, your life back?
 
Current as at: Monday 20 April 2020
Contact page owner: Strategic Reform and Planning