Patient Navigator Role: Supporting patients before and after COVID-19

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Although the current pandemic has upended the health care system, patients who are in various stages of care for hip and knee joint replacement surgery at North York General Hospital (NYGH) still have access to Katya Gonzales, our Patient Navigator dedicated to Hip and Knee Care and their surgeon. Telephone and virtual care visits are used routinely to connect with patients to answer their questions and address their concerns.  

“It’s very important that patients know that they are not alone and that we are working diligently to connect with everyone who needs support,” says Katya. “At anytime, I am only a phone call away and can help work through the challenges patients are experiencing.” 

Here are Katya’s tips and advice to help patients who had surgery just prior to COVID-19 and for those who have had their surgery postponed.

 

Tips and advice for hip and knee care during COVID-19
 

Before surgery:

  • Read the Total Hip Replacement Surgery Patient Guide or Total Knee Replacement Surgery Patient Guide and watch pre-surgery videos for hip care or knee care
  • Maintain or attain a healthy weight. 
  • Continue to move and exercise. This will help improve your endurance and strengthen muscles, as well as help recover your mobility and strength more quickly after surgery.  
  • Learn about the equipment that you will need after your surgery. Practice using walker or crutches.
  • Talk to other people you know who’ve had a similar surgery. The Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation offers a service called Ortho Connect to connect individuals with others who have had the same surgery. 
  • Review options for home care, respite care facilities and services such as grocery and pharmacy delivery service to support your recovery post-surgery. 
  • Make a list of all your medications including over the counter (dose, reason and how often you take it).
  • Continue with pain management strategies including using pain medications as prescribed and ice therapy.
  • Keep a list of your questions. You will have an opportunity to ask them during your pre-op appointment. 
  • Keep in touch with your family doctor to address pain concerns and medication

Contact the Hip and Knee Patient Navigator at 416-756-6000 ext. 4490 or email Hipknee.Navigator@nygh.on.ca if you have questions or concerns.

Recovering from surgery:

  • Keep a diary of your progress during recovery (pain, pain medication, incision check, activities, etc.). Track of how you are feeling and any concerns you might have.
  • Keep up with your home exercise program. Many physiotherapists can offer virtual visits.
  • If you are scheduled for a follow-up appointment with your surgeon at the Gulshan & Pyarali G. Nanji Orthopaedic and Plastics Centre you may receive a call a few days before your appointment to assess your progress. 
  • Continue using ice therapy for pain and swelling.
  • Remember to balance between exercise and rest.
  • Keep in touch with your family doctor to address pain concerns and medication.
  • Contact the Hip and Knee Patient Navigator at 416-756-6000 ext. 4490 or email Hipknee.Navigator@nygh.on.ca if you have questions or concerns.
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