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Tue, June 18

Hospital opens orthopedic unit

Care for orthopedic patients at Kingman Regional Medical Center has improved with the opening of a seven-bed orthopedic unit on the third floor as a result of a hospital expansion project that began in December 1999.

"We're now able to put all of our orthopedic patients in one location so when a doctor comes in he doesn't have to scour the hospital to find them," said registered nurse Cheryl Savory, director of inpatient acute rehabilitation.

"It's easier for physical and occupational therapy people to do treatments, as we have all equipment centralized in one area for knee and hip replacement patients, and all of our nurses are trained in one area."

Clinical pathways' training is an important aspect of the new arrangement.

It specifies pre-operative, day of surgery and post-operative care, medications, pain management and a discharge plan, Savory said.

"Goals are set for each patient in clinical pathways," said Marty Cowan, director of the KRMC Foundation.

"They begin with good blood chemistry work in pre-op to the day of surgery.

The post-op period is the key to discharge, where pain management is gotten under control and physical or occupational therapy department personnel come in and do what they must to get the patient's range of motion to the point where he or she can get around the house."

Carefully following a clinical pathways plan can result in decreased pain and quicker recovery for patients, Savory said.

Savory's department recently received a donation of two continuous passive motion (CPM) machines from the KRMC Auxiliary.

They are valued at about $2,500 each, Cowan said.

The donation brings to five the number of CPMs in Savory's department, reducing the likelihood of having to rent one when patient volume is heavy.

"An orthopedic patient normally works on a CPM for six hours continuously, if he or she is able to tolerate it," Savory said.

"The machine does flexion and extension of the knees with a goal of increasing the range of motion by 10 degrees per day until the patient reaches 120 degrees of extension (leg straight out and parallel to the floor)."

Prior to opening of the seven-bed orthopedic unit, many orthopedic patients had rooms on the medical/surgery floors, where nurses were not as versed about orthopedic care, Savory said.

The orthopedic department, which opened Oct.

1, is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week with a nurse and an aide, Savory said.

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