This week, two new Rapid Assessment Centres (RACS) have opened at Windsor Regional Hospital. These centres will be offering quicker access to specialized health care for Windsor patients suffering from hip, knee and low back pain. Patients previously had to wait in pain for months or even years until they received a consultation with a surgeon, only to discover that they do not qualify or need surgery.
The centres will be using a coordinated intake and triage process in an effort to reduce wait times and give patients access to the proper education and treatment options. This could include referrals to a surgeon or other non-surgical options such as injections or physiotherapy to improve their quality of life.
Every referral now goes through the centre where Windsor patients will receive an appointment within weeks and be evaluated by specially-trained Advanced Practice Physiotherapists. The Physiotherapist will then determine an appropriate and individualized treatment plan. All visits are fully covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).
For patients who may require surgery, they have the option to choose their own surgeon or be referred to the first available surgeon at the centre. For non-surgical patients, this means receiving a self-management plan, education, resources and even follow-up visits to check on their progress.
Rosemary Petrakos, Vice President of Peri-Operative, Surgery, Women’s and Children’s, believes that this new approach is a great way to get patients quickly into the system and evaluated for their specific needs. Long waiting lists will be reduced by separating the patients that require surgery versus those who do not need surgery to get appropriate treatment earlier on.
Each centre also has different treatment programs. The Hip and Knee RAC is located at the Metropolitan Campus and offers specialized health care to patients with moderate to severe osteoarthritis as well as other inflammatory conditions who may be considering hip or knee replacement surgery.
For patients with low back pain or related leg problems lasting for at least six weeks and up to a year, the Low Back Pain RAC is conveniently located at the Ouellette Campus. Patients will be taught how to manage chronic lower back pain while working towards reducing additional tests, opioid medications, specialist appointments and emergency room visits.
In order to attend any centre at Windsor Regional Hospital, a patient must be referred by a doctor or nurse practitioner.
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