Patient Experience Week: Care That Goes With You After Joint Replacement Surgery

April 26, 2021

Patient Experience Week: Care That Goes With You After Joint Replacement Surgery

At Central Indiana Orthopedics, providing compassionate and expert care to each patient for all of their life is the heart of what we do. We want to take a moment to thank our staff for working together every day to create a positive experience for our patients.

In honor of Patient Experience Week, we would like to highlight a unique experience our total joint replacement patients will receive at our outpatient surgery centers in Muncie and Fishers.

Natalie McClintick, Nurse Practitioner, has a very special role at Central Indiana Orthopedics. Prior to joining CIO, she worked at a local hospital for 19 years in Orthopedics where she coordinated the care of CIO’s surgical patients and taught a total joint class for patients undergoing a total joint replacement. Being this involved in the patient’s care prior to surgery, Natalie developed a relationship with each patient and their family.

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. 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.

There would be times when Natalie would call a patient a few days after they left the hospital, and she would ask if they had any questions about their discharge instructions. What Natalie thought the patient had previously heard and understood was nowhere close to what they absorbed. After patients went home, they were confused about who to contact if they had questions or concerns. This sparked a desire in Natalie to be that one person who patients could contact with questions or concerns at any time during recovery.

Care That Goes With You

Fast forward to her career at Central Indiana Orthopedics: 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 before and after surgery. To accomplish this goal, Natalie makes an introduction soon after the patient decides to have total joint surgery. From there, Natalie is with the patient and their family every step of the way. Patients become educated on what to expect before and after surgery during a total joint class taught by Natalie. After total joint replacement surgery performed at our Fishers and Muncie outpatient surgery centers, patients are given a bracelet with Natalie’s name and contact information on it so they can call her 24/7 with any questions or concerns during recovery.

The phone number goes directly to Natalie’s cell phone.

“Patients call me with questions and are always surprised when a nurse practitioner answers – they must think they are going to get an answering machine,” said Natalie. “If I feel like the patient needs to be evaluated, I can drive to their home or meet them at the office to assess them. If they are having a medical concern and not an orthopedic concern, I will assist them in calling their primary care physician’s office if I feel like they need to be seen urgently.”

From medical concerns to dressing changes to specific questions about what can or cannot be done during recovery, Natalie is with our total joint patients every step of the way.

Natalie likes calling this experience “orchestrated care” because each patient is unique and requires careful planning to conduct the entire journey. Having a plan in place helps not only the patient, but also their family to prepare and feel more comfortable after surgery. Natalie is in constant communication with the patient’s surgeon to ensure everyone is on the same page and any concerns are addressed.

Watch the video below to learn more about the unique experience you can expect at our outpatient surgery centers, plus the special bond Natalie made with her first home-visit patient, Chuck.