This past spring, Wayne Albers did something that he never thought he would do. When the winter outdoor sports equipment went on sale, he and his wife bought snowshoes. Wayne has always been the kind of person to hunker down for the winter and pray for spring, but since he had double knee replacement surgery through OrthoEdge, his outlook has changed and he’s looking forward to enjoying his next Minnesota winter with some outdoor activities.
Knee Pain Was All Day, Every Day
As Wayne anticipates making tracks through in fresh snowfall this winter, he remembers a time not too long ago when he could barely walk, let alone think of tromping through the snow. Pain in both of his knees was an all day, every day thing. He had to be careful when walking and he couldn’t walk very far. Wayne attributes his problems to the strain of carrying too much bodyweight over the years, in addition to a demanding career as a police officer that also required him to strap on 15 pounds of equipment.
When Wayne dropped 60 pounds and switched to a career that didn’t claim most of his weekends, two things happened. He and his wife discovered the joy of hiking through Minnesota’s state parks together, and his knee pain became debilitating.
Everything Clicked When He Heard About OrthoEdge
Wayne was having limited success with injection treatments through an orthopedist in the Twin Cities, when he started to ponder how long he could put up with the pain. Then he attended a city council meeting in St. Peter and heard George Rohrich, CEO at River’s Edge Hospital, talk about their new partnership with the Orthopaedic and Fracture Clinic.
“I was in the process of trying to figure out what I was going to do when the River’s Edge Hospital administrator, George Rohrich, came and talked about the hospital and what was going on there,” said Wayne. “It was early in the OrthoEdge partnership and he talked about that, but also about the hospital having one of the lowest infection rates.”
That was when it clicked for Wayne. He asked himself, why was he going to the Twin Cities for treatment, when there was a good hospital and the best orthopedists in his own community? The next thing he did was to make an appointment with Dr. Kyle Swanson at the Orthopaedic and Fracture Clinic (OFC). As he moved from consultation to scheduling his surgery, Wayne had no idea that what he would next experience was a series of events intricately designed to give him the best possible patient experience.
Smooth Operations Inside and Outside the OR
“The process that they have in place between OFC and River’s Edge Hospital is amazing,” said Wayne. “It’s seamless, well thought-out, and well-planned. The whole thing operates smoothly.”
From his first appointment with Dr. Swanson, to check-in at the hospital, to completion of physical therapy in the weeks after his surgery, Wayne had all of his questions answered, and his concerns addressed. For Wayne, attending Joint Camp, a pre-surgery orientation program that all patients are invited to attend, was especially helpful in preparing him for his surgery and recovery.
“They walk you through the process so that concerns about what will happen all go away,” said Wayne. “It helps to get straight information from those that are dealing with it so that you know what to expect as you go down the road.”
Communication to Build Confidence
“As the Joint Camp program has evolved, we’ve brought more people in to better answer the questions that routinely come up with patients anticipating surgery,” said Stephanie Holden, Chief Marketing and Development Officer for River’s Edge Hospital. “We listen to the feedback that we get from patients and we have used it to build out some of the topics we now cover in more detail such as general vs. spinal anesthesia, and what happens during physical therapy.”
Communication is the key to helping patients like Wayne enter their surgery experience with confidence, and it’s also communication that keeps River’s Edge and OFC in harmony. The CEO’s and key staff meet weekly, and OFC surgeons are represented on both the medical staff committee and the hospital commission. Whatever the topic of discussion, it’s clear that the two organizations share the goal of getting the best outcome for each individual in their care.
Best Outcome and Care Available Close to Home
For Wayne, that outcome includes the ability to camp and hike with his wife. This fall, they hiked in nine state parks in nine days and they’re looking forward to trying out their new snowshoes.
“My mobility doesn’t restrict me at all. I can go for a walk or chase the grandkids around,” said Wayne. “It’s so much better than it was before surgery. It’s like night and day.”
Wayne tells anyone considering joint replacement surgery that there is no need to look any further than OrthoEdge for the best surgery outcome and the best care; from the initial consultation, through surgery, to the end of physical therapy.
“When you put the expertise and longevity of the Orthopaedic and Fracture Clinic together with a hospital that is really focused on the care of the individual, it’s a different experience,” said Stephanie. “You can be a patient anywhere. Being cared for as an individual is what really is the key and those two things just make for a really good fit.”