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Newly relocated Orthopedic Clinic streamlines patient care at Aberdeen Hospital

Jan 27, 2023

Home 5 News 5 Newly relocated Orthopedic Clinic streamlines patient care at Aberdeen Hospital

Staff are seen at the newly relocated Orthopedic Clinic on the ground floor of the Aberdeen Hospital, a project funded by the Aberdeen Health Foundation. The clinic opened in November as a self-contained program with its own designated registry and waiting area, streamlining patient care. From left to right: Tanya MacDonald, Health Services Manager, Dr. Prem Sequeira, Orthopedic Surgeon, Jennifer Sutherland, Health Services Director and Site Lead, Audriana Parsons, Licensed Practical Nurse, and Kevin Lacey, Orthopedic Technician.

The Aberdeen Hospital’s orthopedic program is one of Nova Scotia Health’s four orthopedic surgery sites in the province. With six orthopedic surgeons, the program facilitates elective surgeries, emergency traumas and sees at least 300 patients per week. The hospital’s orthopedic clinic recently relocated from the third floor to the ground floor to improve the patient experience, make the clinic more efficient and free up space needed for inpatient care.

Jennifer Sutherland became the Director of Health Services and Site Lead at Aberdeen Hospital in October 2021. Upon reviewing the existing Orthopedic Clinic, she soon noticed there was a possibility for improvement. “I reviewed all the services to determine how we could expand our orthopedics program to support elective surgeries and help improve surgical wait times. I was able to find a space on the ground floor of the hospital to relocate the clinic. This location would be in better proximity to the Diagnostic Imaging (X-ray) and Rehabilitation departments, which orthopedic patients typically need to access as part of their care.”

Sutherland took her idea to the Aberdeen Health Foundation Board of Directors, seeking support and funding. “The Foundation agreed to support the relocation project in April of 2022 and with that, we got to work.”

The proposal required some structural changes to the new clinic space, including widened doorframes for accessibility, creation of a reception and waiting area, wall-mounted computers and additional furniture. “We put a six-month timeline in place and successfully relocated to the new clinic and opened on November 28, 2022.”

Sutherland says the clinic’s new designated patient registry and reception area supports improved patient flow, not only in the orthopedics department, but also by reducing patient load for the hospital’s central registry. “Patients are flowing really well through the clinic. When they come in for an appointment, they are coming to the ground floor directly beside the patient parking lot and are registered within the clinic. If patients require an X-ray or a visit to rehabilitation services, those departments are located on the ground floor as well, so it has made it much easier for patients to navigate through the hospital. Our hope is that we will see more efficient timelines, which would allow for more patients to be seen.”

The project is being viewed as a huge success by staff, surgeons, patients and their families alike, at minimal expense by comparison to the Foundation’s larger medical equipment investments.

“Among the many strengths of the Foundation are the relationships we’ve fostered with health care workers and community partners over the years,” says Aberdeen Health Foundation Board Chair Susan MacConnell. “We know the importance of collaborating with those who work within the health systems we wish to improve, because these are the people who know what changes will bring the greatest impact. Jennifer bringing us this idea to relocate the Orthopedic Clinic is a perfect example of how well these relationships can work. The project was able to create major benefits for patients and staff within a short timeframe and with a moderate budget.”As for Sutherland, she credits the Foundation’s support for her ability to realize these improvements.

“Having the support of the Foundation allows managers to be more innovative and we could not have accomplished this relocation without them. The opportunity to relocate has created a better patient and staff experience and resulted in more in-patient beds and better support for our surgical program. The Foundation really listened to us and understood the need for these operational improvements, which are really going to make a difference in the community.”