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Quicker recovery for Dorset County Hospital hip replacement patients

3:00pm Thursday 11th August 2011 Source: Dorset Echo  By Harry Hogger

HIP replacement patients at Dorset County Hospital are getting back on the move quicker thanks to a special new recovery programme.

A rapid recovery programme introduced at the Dorchester hospital is allowing most hip replacement patients to be ready to return home within four days and some are able to be discharged after just one or two days.

The Rapid Hip Programme is being led by consultant orthopaedic surgeon Peter Ward and has been well received by patients.

Susan Fuhrmann, from Weymouth, was up and walking just four hours after her hip replacement operation and was discharged home the following day.

She said she was amazed at how quickly she recovered and wants to reassure others facing the same surgery.

Mrs Fuhrmann, 57, said: “Hip replacement surgery is a major operation and people may worry that they will be out of action for weeks afterwards.

“But I came in for my operation one day and was going home the next.

“The day I had it done I was able to walk around the nurses’ station on the ward and by the next day I was ready to go home, it was fantastic.

“Three or four days later I was walking without crutches and now I’m driving again.”

She added: “Mr Ward is a fantastic surgeon and the whole experience has been really brilliant.

“The pain I was living with before my operation was unbelievable, it was impacting on every aspect of my life.

“This hip replacement has given me my life back.”

Mr Ward said the new system involves a team approach involving physiotherapists, occupational therapists and nursing staff.

Last year the average length of stay for hip replacement patients was five-and-a-half days.

Mr Ward said: “Our figures continue to improve.

“In May our patients were in hospital for an average of three days.

“Earlier mobilisation is safer practice, benefiting all involved.

“In recent years lengths of stay have fallen but new drives concentrating on patient education and expectations linked to changing anaesthetic and nursing practice allows remarkably short stays after major surgery.

“With an organised approach and well motivated patients we hope to see more and more hip and knee replacement patients achieving very early discharge.

“Mrs Fuhrmann is an excellent example of what can be achieved and is a fantastic role model for future patients.”