Charlotte Regional Medical Center Introduces New Concept in Spinal Surgery
PUNTA GORDA, FL (June 15, 2012) - Charlotte Regional Medical Center is changing the way patients and their families think about and experience spinal surgery with the introduction of the Spine Academy, a comprehensive program that is based on a national best practice model for spine surgery and structured around the fundamental concept of wellness.
“This is not your typical hospital program or hospital stay,” according to Medical Director Robert Hansell, M.D. Hansell is one of four orthopedic spine and neurosurgeons who, along with the administrative and clinical team at Charlotte Regional, developed this innovative program to improve outcomes and provide a superior experience for individuals having spine surgery.
“First and foremost, we do not see our patients as being sick,” Hansell explained. “Rather, we see our patients as healthy individuals with the desire to live a better quality of life by having spine surgery.”
This fundamental concept of wellness is executed throughout the entire program, which incorporates the most advanced analgesic, minimally invasive, and rapid-recovery surgical techniques with an environment that maximizes patient recovery through education, a culture of early mobility, family involvement, and group interaction.
The Spine Academy Experience
The Spine Academy experience actually begins in the physician’s office. Once an individual decides to have spine surgery, they are provided with a comprehensive guidebook that explains their upcoming surgery and a list of activities, including pre-operative strengthening exercises that they need to begin prior to surgery. This guidebook also serves as a clinical diary that the patient brings to the pre-operative class, to all appointments, and to the hospital. According to José F. Morillo, CEO at Charlotte Regional Medical Center, “Expectation setting is a key component to our program.”
Another important aspect of the program is that individuals electing to have the surgery are referred to as “students,” not patients. Each student chooses a coach – usually a friend or family member – who is an active participant and “coach” in their care throughout the process. Both student and coach are required to attend a pre-operative class one to two weeks prior to surgery where they meet their Spine Academy team in addition to learning about the procedure, what to expect in the hospital, and how to care for oneself after discharge.
All staff members at The Spine Academy receive special training and are chosen to work on the unit because of their expertise, positive attitudes, and high motivational skills. Coaches, who wear a special coach’s button, learn the program alongside their loved one and provide encouragement and support every step of the way.
The pivotal concept of wellness is also executed throughout an individual’s stay in the hospital. Students do not wear hospital gowns; rather, they are expected to bring comfortable clothing that they wear during the day. Students also follow an aggressive daily schedule that beings at 7 a.m. the morning after surgery on a unit devoted solely to individuals having spine surgery. Each morning at breakfast, students receive a daily newsletter letting them know the day’s agenda as well as tips on how to care for themselves.
Care does not end after discharge or graduation. Graduates receive calls from the Spine Academy staff within 72 hours of discharge and again one to two weeks later. Reunions for Spine Academy graduates and their coaches occur annually with surgeons and their entire team.
The End Result: Superior Outcomes
According to national best practice studies, the result of this new approach to surgery is less pain, quicker recovery, and superior outcomes.
“We evaluate each patient on multiple clinical, functional, and patient satisfaction criteria,” explained Morillo. These outcomes are then analyzed during monthly performance improvement team meetings and enable Charlotte Regional Medical Center to become masters of teamwork. “So, when we say we offer superior outcomes, we have the data to prove it,” continued Morillo.
For more information on The Spine Academy, call Kim Stewart, Spine Academy nurse navigator, at (941) 637-2499.