Island Health pilot project improves surgical patient recovery

UBC Orthopaedics Clinical Instructor, Dr. Duncan Jacks, is the lead orthopaedic surgeon under Island Health’s new Victoria Enhanced Recovery Arthroplasty (VERA) program.

The program involves a new way of controlling pain and anesthesia before, during, and after surgery, to reduce post-surgical pain and shorten patient recovery time. With hip and knee replacements in high demand, the program seeks to meet the increasing demand for joint replacements.

The new protocols will meet the increasing demand for joint replacements, and will cut costs for the hospital and patients, due to less time spent in recovery. With the backlog of surgeries due to COVID-19, there has been particular interest in expanding the program.

“The VERA program has been exciting for me as a surgeon to see how well my patients can do when we address all the elements of the peri-operative pathway that traditionally have been challenging such as pain, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, and limited mobility. It has been eye opening and very rewarding to see the improvements in the patient experience with the new protocol.”
– Dr. Duncan Jacks

Through the development of a new standardized clinical order set and health care provider manual, the team is now expanding the program to other surgeons.

“I am very proud of the teamwork displayed by our multidisciplinary group including surgeons, anaesthesiologists, nurses, navigators, CNLs, pharmacists, physiotherapists, and administrative staff” says Dr. Jacks. “This pilot project has been a great example of a collaborative effort between our office staff at RebalanceMD and Island Health.”

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