Improving the Patient Care Experience: North West LHIN Regional Orthopaedic Program

Jim Shearer, Patient of the Regional Orthopaedic Program.

When Jim Shearer fell on some ice last winter, he knew knee surgery might follow. Having had multiple surgeries on his knees before, Jim booked an appointment with his doctor. But what Jim didn’t know was the level of coordinated care and one-on-one attention he was about to receive.

Jim’s experience with the Regional Orthopaedic Program began with some x-rays and a visit from Program Director and Physiotherapist Caroline Fanti. “That was neat for me because I’ve never had a physiotherapist see me from the very beginning,” said Jim.

Together, Jim and Caroline looked at the x-rays that were taken there at the hospital, requiring no wait time. “I think the care, the information that she gave me that day was encouraging and yet I had never received it in all of my surgeries- that care that Caroline was able to offer. She took the time to explain what I needed to do as a patient.”

Caroline sat down with Jim and explained his options. From there, Caroline gave Jim homework—exercises that he needed to do to strengthen his knee before surgery – and a follow up appointment was booked. Rather than having to travel long distances to get the care he needed, Jim was able to receive care at his home in Dryden. “Even when I lived in Toronto, I would have to travel so far just to see a specialist. But here, at the [Dryden Regional] Hospital, I was able just to go there. It just made it so much easier not having to drive the distance,” says Jim.

Jim’s experience with his knee surgery was notably more coordinated than his previous surgeries. “I can remember having to go to my closest hospital and getting my x-ray done there before I went to my specialist, which was three hours the other way,” Jim recalls. “Here, everything was done right at the hospital.”

“I can see such value of having those specialists right here in Dryden,” says Jim. “I can see that Dryden is a hub for many Northern communities, so I think having those options here in Dryden – to see a specialist, to have everything done here – is a good thing.”

According to Jim, the Regional Orthopaedic Program is especially important for those more vulnerable populations, particularly seniors. “It’s hard for some people to have the same treatment because they aren’t able to travel on their own or without a medical companion.” Bringing specialized care to communities like Dryden is one way that the Regional Orthopaedic Program is improving the patient care experience. For Jim, this has meant high-quality and personalized health care without having to travel far to get it.