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UPMC On Topic Joint Replacement Surgery: Care Delivered Through the Eyes of Patients and Families

Anthony M. DiGioia, MD
Medical Director, Orthopaedic Program, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital

One of the driving factors of our care team is that everyone has had care experiences, either ourselves or through our family members, that were less than ideal. And knowing that and giving caregivers the opportunity to deliver the ideal, I think, changes your perspective completely.

We’ve developed an actual methodology called patient- and family-centered care that brings together caregivers from all different areas to focus on that care experience for patients and families.

Streamlining the Process

If a patient is deemed a candidate for surgery and they elect to have the surgery, they meet the office staff that is then going to be their navigator through their care experience, including surgery, and we do everything possible to make it as easy as possible. And, for instance, we not only can schedule their operating room date, but we can now also schedule their preoperative testing and education date and their post-op date all at one time. 

Pre-Op Training

We also ask every patient to assign a coach that goes through this experience with them.

We use the term coaches for a reason, they are active participants, they become the therapist, they become the nurse.

In essence you are, you are training the coach to be the expert at home.

Our preoperative testing and education program is very unique because instead of having patients run around the hospital to go to the departments that they need their testing, we actually brought all the departments to the patient.

Supportive Environment

We really designed the rooms to make them feel like they were in a hotel room. We have work areas built for visitors, we have wireless internet access that’s free for anyone onsite on the campus. 

The gym, as you see, where we are talking today, it’s designed more as a health club in which we encourage group therapy, because we’ve found that patients and their coaches not only encourage each other, they encourage other patients and families at the same time.

That sets the stage, then, for the transition to home, which, as we’ve found out in talking to our patients, it can be very anxiety provoking. How to get into the car, how am I going to go up those steps? Well, we address all those while they are here by actually using a small mock car where they can get in and out of their car as many times as they want before they actually do it on the way home. We also arrange to have therapists go into their house daily while they are at home until they are ready to do outpatient therapy.

Therapist at Home

Our focus on patients and families, and through a full cycle of care, not only allows us to deliver the best outcomes that we possibly can for patients, but also to deliver these exceptional care experiences that are so important to patients and their families.

For more information, contact us at 412-683-7272.