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Joint Restoration Services at Washington Hospital

July 30, 2013

Editor's note: This is the third in a series of three articles about Washington Hospital's Institute for Joint Restoration and Research.

Knee and hip joint replacements are among the most frequently performed medical procedures at Washington Hospital as well as at other hospitals throughout the country. More than 700,000 knee and hip joint replacement procedures are performed annually in the United States. This number is expected to grow exponentially as the population ages and individuals live longer and seek to remain mobile and active.

At Washington Hospital, more than 1,300 joint replacements are performed each year. District residents and patients from elsewhere in the United States as well as from other countries have come to Washington Hospital for joint replacements as the program's reputation has grown.

Washington Hospital's administration established the Institute for Joint Restoration and Research as a Center of Excellence at the hospital to house its joint replacement program. The Institute is dedicated to improving surgical outcomes and rehabilitation programs and to conducting research to improve patient outcomes while improving processes. Its ultimate goal is to increase the quality of care for joint replacements patients, with shorter and more effective rehabilitation.

To house the Institute, the hospital constructed a new 20,000 square-foot Center for Joint Replacement building. Taxpayer approved bond construction funds were not used for this facility which is licensed by the State of California. Rather it was financed by a combination of private funding and other district resources. The new building has all private rooms and includes a rehabilitation garden, an occupational rehabilitation kitchen and other design features that promote and facilitate patient recovery. Having all Institute patients recover post-operatively in one place also provides an environment beneficial to the Institute's important research program.

The research program is conducted under the direct supervision of the Institute's two medical co-directors, Dr. John Dearborn and Dr. Alexander Sah. The interdisciplinary research program focuses on how best to streamline joint replacement care to improve outcomes and involves extensive teamwork among the hospital's physicians, nurses, therapists, pharmacists and administrative personnel. The team works together to achieve improved care.

Surgeons who prefer not to participate in the Institute's program continue to provide joint replacement services at the hospital. Their patients have their surgeries performed in the same hospital operating rooms and receive the same high standard of care provided by the same highly qualified nurses and rehabilitation staff. They stay in private patient rooms in the main hospital rather than in the separate building. However, some patients may be placed in the Center for Joint Replacement building depending on the availability of rooms and staff. And, while not participating in the Institute's research program, these patients do benefit from the clinical improvements that result from the research findings produced by the Institute and other like programs throughout the country.

The Center for Joint Replacement building also houses an outpatient clinic in addition to the Institute. A department of Washington Hospital that is staffed by hospital employees, the professional services at the Washington Joint Restoration Clinic is provided by Dr. Dearborn and Dr. Sah. The clinic allows the hospital to have a controlled outpatient environment that supports the Institute's research goals. Medicare and Medi-Cal patients who meet the standard medical criteria for knee or hip joint replacement surgery are accepted for medical care at Washington Hospital, as are all other patients covered by health insurance contracts that include the hospital.

The Institute and other similar Centers of Excellence support Washington Hospital's "patient first" ethic and its goal of providing the very best care to the district's residents and to all others who come to Washington Hospital.

For additional information about the Institute for Joint Restoration and Research, please call... (510) 818-7200.