Rita, a 48-year-old patient, was preparing for outpatient surgery when surgery nurse, Paula, was assigned to support her case. Paula learned during their initial discussion that Rita had a heart attack at age 44, which raised concerns – pre-op cardiac testing had not yet been done for clearance, and this patient with heart attack history was scheduled for outpatient instead of inpatient surgery. Paula contacted the surgeon and he immediately scheduled testing with a cardiologist and changed the procedure to inpatient. Although Rita had been very nervous about the surgery, she said that the support from Paula, as well as the relaxation exercises she learned through an integrated prehab app, really eased her anxiety.
Oftentimes, patients facing surgery suffer from anxiety and have concerns about the procedure and their recovery. Surgery nurse services are designed to help patients prepare for and recover from surgery.
These services include an assessment of the employee's health literacy, education regarding their surgery, preparedness reviews, strengthening exercises, and the use of a specialized app that is integrated with the surgery nurse process. Daily lessons are carefully selected to improve pre-operative physical strength, nutrition and well-being, and address issues related to smoking cessation and home readiness.
Luke received prehab and rehab with the help of a surgery nurse, and daily lessons shared via an app also allowed him to prepare for surgery. He said that the surgery nurse and personalized lessons helped his anxiety and kept him motivated for recovery. After a cervical fusion in mid-June, Luke saw the doctor for his first post-op visit July 19, and was released to return to modified duty July 30. He credits the surgery nurse program and its encouragement of daily engagement in his own recovery journey for his rapid recovery and motivation to stay active.
Patients in a surgery nurse program receive care paths which consist of tailored lessons that are most likely to result in high engagement and a positive result. Lessons include:
Resources to end harmful habits, such as tobacco use
Creation of a nutritional profile that best promotes healing
Daily exercises to further promote a successful recovery
Internal exercises to encourage relaxation
Cases like these are showing notable benefits related to the guidance provided by surgery nurse services:
Mindfulness exercises support pain management and reduced anxiety
Home hazard detection, using artificial intelligence and augmented reality, detects and offers suggestions to remove trip and fall hazards
Nurses can track the patient's progress to surgery and through recovery using the integrated app
Range of motion measurements are tracked via the patient's mobile device, helping an individual and their nurse see the progress being made on a daily basis
Jen was approaching surgery with extreme anxiety and dread. Her attorney would not agree to telephonic case management (TCM) intervention, but was intrigued by the idea of surgery nurse engagement (something he had never heard about before) and allowed contact. Jen said that the mindfulness sessions delivered through the integrated app on her smartphone helped her learn to relax and also deal with post-op pain. In fact, she now prefers mindfulness meditation over pain medication, because mindfulness keeps her feeling good and the medication makes her feel foggy and unpleasant. She noted how much power she has found in utilizing tools that are easily accessible on her phone to stay engaged in her recovery, and commented on how they keep her motivated and feeling better.
With the support of surgery nurse programs for prehab and rehab, injured employees facing surgery can be better prepared physically and mentally, and confidently steer themselves toward a faster recovery. In the relatively short time Sedgwick has been providing surgery nurse services, we have already seen excellent claim-level outcomes like these. Nurses, armed with the ability to remotely measure range of motion, paired with the guided physical therapy and home exercises on the integrated app, are helping empower patients and get them back to normal activity earlier.
Do you have your own stories or questions about the impact of surgery nurse services? Please comment and help us continue the discussion on this impactful service.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Cynthia Malito and Polly Pondel are Clinical Case Management Specialists at Sedgwick.
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