At Central Indiana Orthopedics, we take patient care very seriously and strive to provide each patient with a personalized experience. For our surgery patients, we understand the careful consideration that goes into the decision to have a procedure and the important roles that patient safety, education and support play in providing the best outcome possible. That’s why we have a dedicated Nurse Practitioner Patient Navigator, Natalie McClintick, readily available to assist our hip and knee replacement patients to ensure they are prepared going into surgery, and that they are not alone in their post-surgery journey.
Prior to joining CIO, Natalie worked at a local hospital for 19 years in Orthopedics where she coordinated the care of surgical patients and taught a total joint class for patients undergoing a joint replacement. Natalie shared with us how she first recognized a gap in care after patients were discharged from the hospital. “The patient receives a great amount of information regarding wound care, activity, medications, etc. upon discharge, and they are also most likely under the influence of narcotic pain medication,” Natalie said. “It became evident that even though the same information was heard prior to surgery and upon discharge, it wasn’t enough – patients were still overwhelmed.” This sparked a desire in Natalie to be that one person who patients could contact with questions or concerns at any time during recovery.
Fast forward to her career at Central Indiana Orthopedics where Natalie’s role is an elevated extension of what she was doing in the hospital setting as a Nurse Practitioner. Natalie’s goal is to streamline care and support the patient and their family. Our outpatient hip and knee replacement patients can expect one-on-one joint education with Natalie prior to surgery to ensure the patient is comfortable and informed going into surgery. Natalie also spends time educating those patients how to prepare their home to avoid a fall after surgery, any concerns to watch for and other tips to ensure a smoother recovery at home. Read more at ciocenter.com/blog/patient-safety-tips-for-pre-and-post-joint-replacement-surgery/.
Post-Surgery Personalized Care
Upon discharge from the surgery center or hospital, hip and knee replacement patients receive a bracelet with Natalie’s name and contact information. “It’s important to me that our patients feel they have that “one person” to contact with any questions or concerns during recovery,” Natalie said. “If a patient has surgery somewhere other than CIO, they may receive an automated message after surgery asking them to call if they have questions, but otherwise, they are really left to recover “alone” until their two week follow up at the office. Knowing that our patients have me as a resource for questions, concerns, support – whatever they need – provides them peace of mind during recovery.” With this service, our patients have a Nurse Practitioner with over 20 years of orthopedic experience at their disposal 24/7.
Patients who receive a total hip or knee replacement in the outpatient setting can expect a call from Natalie the evening of their surgery. Natalie uses this time to check in, review medications and answer any questions the patient may have. Some of our surgeons even request for Natalie to visit their patients in the home – another level of personalized service Natalie feels is valuable and is happy to provide. If there is a concern Natalie doesn’t feel comfortable addressing, she is in immediate contact with the surgeon, and they collaborate with her on how to best take care of their patient.
In situations where there are concerns, but a patient lives farther away, or an office visit may not be necessary, Natalie uses FaceTime as a creative and effective way to communicate with patients. Providing step-by-step instruction on how to change a patient’s dressing, or addressing questions or concerns about a wound and actually being able to see it on screen are just a few ways she’s able to personally connect with patients even if she’s not with them in person. Natalie also frequents the medical supply aisle at local drug stores to ensure she has pictures of current supplies and medications a patient or family member might need. That way she can text those pictures to a patient or their family member to ensure they have the correct supplies needed during recovery.
Natalie says she’s proud to work at an organization that puts so much emphasis on making sure the patient is supported during recovery. “Even though CIO is growing, we continue to focus on personalized patient care, and this service definitely plays into that,” Natalie said. “Compared to what may happen at a larger organization, our patients are not falling through the cracks. Instead, they feel secure and taken care of after surgery.”
For those experiencing joint pain that’s affecting their quality of life, Natalie encourages them to not delay scheduling an appointment. Discussing goals and concerns with your doctor will help determine if conservative treatment options or surgery would be best. If you are interested in meeting with a CIO joint replacement surgeon and learning more, visit ciocenter.com or call 800-622-6575 to schedule an appointment.