Mackay Base Hospital has expanded services with the opening of a dedicated orthopaedics ward to provide care for patients recovering from surgery.
The 16-bed ward opened on 9 March to support patients having planned surgeries such as hip and knee replacements as well as others needing emergency and trauma surgery.
The Department of Health has allocated $4 million annually to meet the cost of running the ward which will provide an additional 800 patient stays each year.
Acting Chief Executive Marc Warner said eight additional beds had been funded with the other eight re-allocated from other wards that previously cared for orthopaedic patients.
“Orthopaedics is one of the most in-demand specialties and this year we have added additional theatre lists to ensure more elective patients are treated sooner,” Mr Warner said.
“Many of the nursing staff in the new ward have undertaken post graduate studies in orthopaedic care so the care will be very specialised.
“The extra beds will not only facilitate specialised care but will help with the flow of patients through the hospital,” he said.
The new ward has created additional 29.65 full time equivalent jobs in nursing, medical, allied health and operational positions.
Director of Orthopaedics Dr Jonathan Smith said having a dedicated orthopaedic ward was the gold-standard of care for patients.
“It’s a milestone for the Base Hospital to have achieved this and puts us on the same level as major metropolitan hospitals,” he said.
Dr Smith said co-horting joint replacement patients reduced the risk of infection by reducing exposure to other patients with illnesses.
“Orthopaedic nursing is also a specialised area so patients will benefit from this expertise,” he said.
Ms Warner said the dedicated orthopaedic beds would help meet demand from both emergency presentations and from the increasing number of elective surgeries performed.
“Fortunately, the redeveloped Mackay Base Hospital has been future-proofed and we have the space to expand services,” he said.
Mr Warner said the need for additional beds had been apparent in recent months and thanked staff for their dedication while the new ward opening was planned.
“I would like to give a big thank-you to our staff for their constant hard work and dedication to care for the Mackay community. They go above and beyond the required effort every day.
“Opening a new ward requires a significant amount of planning to ensure we recruit enough staff and have purchased all the equipment we need,” he said.
Mackay HHS is seeing record numbers of patients in all areas and this includes performing more elective and emergency surgery.
New specialised nursing position
A new specialised nursing position has been created to support the opening of the ward.
Director of Orthopaedics Dr Jonathan Smith said the position would focus on supporting patients having hip and knee replacements.
Clinical Nurse Erin Rosewood will see patients in the pre-admission clinic to ensure they are ready for surgery and have the right supports at home.
Dr Smith said it was hoped the nursing position would help patients go home sooner and improve patient satisfaction.
“We anticipate fewer cancellations on the day of surgery because we will be confident patients are ready for care.
“The position will also identify physiotherapy and rehabilitation goals before surgery and help patients to ‘own’ their recovery more.
“We’re expecting to have healthier and better-informed patients who have a shorter and happier journey through their hip and knee replacements.
“They will have a point of contact for follow up concerns, so they don’t have to present to the emergency department.”
Dr Smith said the nursing model had worked well in other cities and helped keep patients positive.
“One thing we stress is you’re not sick – we’re just fixing you up. We encourage patients to get out of their hospital gowns and into normal clothes and start moving.
“The most important thing is the patients themselves – they can either make a success of their surgery or have their recovery and long and drawn out experience.”
Danielle Jesser | Media and Communications Manager | 4885 5984