Patients undergoing total hip and knee replacements at Nuffield Health Bristol Hospital, The Chesterfield are getting back on their feet and back home far quicker than ever before
The length-of-stay in hospital has declined by more than 40 per cent over the past decade, from an average six night stay in 2006 to just three-and-a-half nights in 2015.
Nuffield Health Bristol Hospital has been performing orthopaedic surgery for over fifty years and in 2015 helped to improve the lives of more than 1,000 patients through orthopaedic interventions.
Mr Nick Howells, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, said: “In Bristol we see patients with all sorts of conditions each year; people with arthritis following sports injuries and those who have developed painful joints due to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or other less common joint problems. The types of treatments we’re able to provide have evolved dramatically from a generation ago.”
To support recovery, Nuffield Health’s Bristol Hospital and Fitness & Wellbeing gym last year introduced launch Recovery Plus, a unique programme designed to improve long-term fitness and wellbeing for surgical patients, including those who have undergone hip and knee replacement. Over 150 people have benefitted from the combination of personalised and focused rehabilitation, nutrition and exercise.
Mr Howells continued: “Many patients who come in for surgery have been living with reduced fitness and mobility and are often suffering from related illness like obesity or high blood pressure. Recovery Plus provides a stepping stone from hospital to help people get back to their daily routine, as well as helping to prevent future hospital visits by increasing their overall fitness and wellbeing.”
Recovery Plus gives knee replacement patient new lease of life
Angela Morris (64) was initially daunted by the prospect of having both knees replaced but Nuffield Health’s ‘Recovery Plus’ programme soon had her back on track – and now the gym devotee is rarely off it!
When joint pain developed into arthritis, Angela Morris, a computer software trainer from Yatton, decided to have both of her knees replaced at Nuffield Health Bristol Hospital, The Chesterfield, in Clifton. Her right knee was replaced first, in August 2015, followed by her left knee in February of this year.
Angela explains: “When I had my right knee replaced, I was recommended to make use of Recovery Plus, a complimentary three-month rehabilitation programme offered to all Orthopaedic patients by Nuffield Health.
I am so glad I did. I needed the speedy recovery of my right knee because my left knee also required replacement.
“The Recovery Plus programme started as soon as I’d been discharged from physiotherapy. I was paired up with a personal trainer who assessed me and then devised a set of activities, both in the gym and the pool, tailored to my specific needs and ability. I visited the gym twice a week and the workouts were reviewed regularly in line with my progress. I then had another assessment at the end of the programme so I could see how far I’d come.”
“Recovery Plus not only helped to speed my recovery but also prepared me for the second operation. I was in much better physical shape three months later when my left knee was replaced! As soon as I was able to, I embarked on a second Recovery Plus programme. I had the same personal trainer – a lovely lady called Danni Mohan – and was able to expand my activities to include some fitness classes which I achieved by attending the gym three times a week.
“Danni and the team at Nuffield Health really helped me. My balance was very bad at first and I needed lots of reassurance. They encouraged me to push myself so that I became progressively fitter and stronger.
“One of the high points was joining weekly circuit training sessions led by Hannah. Quite a few of us had bad knees, backs, wrists, shoulders etc and Hannah managed to remember who suffered from what and suggest variations on each of the exercises tailored to our individual needs.
At the end of the programme, I was so inspired to maintain my new-found fitness that I signed up for a 12 month gym membership and now I go at least four times a week!”
Expert tips for healthy knees and hips from Nuffield Health
Wear and tear can happen naturally over time and in some cases surgery, including hip replacements and knee replacements, may be the best course of action. But there are things you can do to reduce your risk of osteoarthritis and ensure your knees and hips function well for many years to come.
1. Lighten the load
There are many good reasons to lose weight and looking after your joints is one of them. Hips and knees are load-bearing joints. The heavier you are, the more load they have to bear and the faster they’ll wear out.
You don’t have to lose much to make a big difference. For example, when you walk up or down a flight of stairs, the load on your knees is roughly seven times your body weight. If you’re overweight, that adds up very quickly. But losing just one stone will take around seven stone off your knee-joint with every step.
2. Strengthen your joints with exercise – but take it easy
Excessive exercise can cause your joints to wear out prematurely. Many elite sports men and women find they have problems with their joints earlier in life than less active people but that shouldn’t put you off exercise.
The benefits of regular exercise far outweigh the negatives. Building strong, flexible muscle around your hips and knees will ensure joints don’t have to do all the work by themselves. Gentle exercise and stretches focused on your hips and knees can make a big difference to your ability to avoid and recover from injury and reduce wear and tear.
3. Eat well – oils, vitamin E, antioxidants
Like a machine with moving parts, our body needs oil to keep joints lubricated and healthy. Eat oily fish rich in omega-3 fats like salmon and mackerel 2-4 times a week. Omega-3 has been linked to reduced joint pain and morning stiffness.
Vitamin E has anti-inflammatory properties and healthy levels have been linked to lower risk of joint and bone cell damage. You’ll get plenty by adding avocado, sunflower seeds, nuts and even lobster to your diet.
Antioxidants are thought to slow the progression of arthritis inflammation. They’re found in brightly-coloured berries, blueberries are particularly rich in antioxidants.
Nuffield Health Bristol Hospital, The Chesterfield is a centre of excellence for orthopaedic surgery. To learn more, or to book a consultation with one of our surgeons please call 0117 405 8978 or visit nuffieldhealth.com for more information