Orthopaedics (OT)

The orthopaedic team primarily sees patients who live in Norfolk but will also see patients from neighbouring counties, such as Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, if they are admitted to one of the orthopaedic wards.

Each ward has a morning “handover” meeting. From this the Occupational Therapist covering the ward, prioritises everyone who needs receive Occupational therapy and any intervention required is then carried out. Patients will be under the care of an Orthopaedic Consultant and their team following elective surgery or admission following traumatic injury.

At present patients are aged 16 years and upwards as Paediatric services are provided on a consultation basis only.

Patients may have a wide range of problems resulting from elective procedures such as joint replacement or spinal decompression, or from traumatic injuries such as fractures sustained during road traffic accidents.

Many patients who have elective hip and knee replacements are now treated under a new enhanced recovery pathway (Norwich Enhanced Recovery Programme or NERP). This involves new techniques for anaesthesia and pain control which allow patients to mobilise earlier and streamlined therapy input to facilitate more rapid discharge home.

Orthopaedic Occupational Therapists adopt an ‘enablement’ approach for these patients to allow them the opportunity to rehabilitate during their acute hospital stay.

Common interventions include

  • assessment of ability to perform activities of daily living (ADL),
  • provision of small aids and equipment to assist with performing these ADLs,
  • postural advice and education around specific conditions, as well as detailing precautions to be followed after some types of surgery.
  • home visits are carried out when there are complex equipment needs (e.g. hoists, hospital beds) or if the patients’ needs cannot adequately be assessed in the hospital setting (e.g. patients with dementia).

There are close links with Primary Care Outreach teams who will often provide patients with continuing rehabilitation in the home following discharge. For those patients who need a greater degree of support before discharge home, there are a small number of rehabilitation beds in community hospitals which can be accessed by orthopaedic inpatients.