Your knee bone connected to your thigh bone

Clark Memorial finds its place in orthopedic care.
By Chelsea Nichols

Every hospital has its niche. Baptist East is synonymous with breast cancer. KentuckyOne Health’s Jewish Hospital continues to develop its transplant center. If Norton Healthcare is mentioned, we often think of Kosair Children’s Hospital.

Across the river, Clark Memorial found its place in orthopedic care. A few years ago, the Jeffersonville, Ind.-based hospital did some market research on areas of healthcare that would skyrocket. The results: oncology and orthopedic care. The hospital could have enhanced its cancer services, but chose to run with bones and joints instead.

Today the Clark Memorial’s Center for Orthopedics and Spine’s group consists of five surgeons. “They have a wealth of experience, about 90 years all together. They see across the life span—from infants to the elderly. They can treat sports injuries; they do a lot of physical therapy. Of course they can repair broken bones,” said Lori Sheffield, a nurse navigator.

Clark Memorial is quick to adopt new advances that improve outcomes for patients. New materials make the replacement joints stronger and longer-lasting, while advanced MRI technology allows physicians to more accurately match the joint to the patient’s unique physiology. Perhaps most important, the less-invasive approaches that are used whenever possible result in smaller incisions, lower risk, greater comfort and quicker recovery.

Engaging the Community
Members of the orthopedics group don’t limit themselves to the operating room. They also interact with their community. For example, arthritis is a huge ailment, not only with the aging population, but even now with the mid-life years arthritis is becoming a problem. To address this, surgeons hold community seminars where they educate members of the community about arthritis and conservative treatments all the way up to joint replacement.

For instance, a pre-op teaching class is offered to patients who are going to receive a total joint replacement surgery. The class gives patients an opportunity to find out pretty much everything is going to happen before, during and after their surgery. “They can find out about pain management, anesthesia choices,” said Sheffield. “They actually get to see where to go the morning of surgery. We show them the orthopedic floor [and] everyone in the unit is orthopedic trained.”

Newly Renovated
The orthopedic unit meets the needs of both patients and doctors. The pre-op teaching room has been totally renovated. There’s an orthopedic gym for group physical therapy. “The patients won’t get physical therapy just in their rooms, but they will also go down to the group therapy gym and participate in therapy with others who have had joint replacement,” said Sheffield.

Patients seem pleased. “They love the camaraderie,” said Sheffield. “They love being able to see and talk to [other] patients who they know, maybe someone they’ve been in class with and met them.”

Overall the orthopedic center makes leaving the hospital easier on the patient and family. “We really cater to our families as far as a team approach,” said Sheffield. “We have a care coordinator/discharge planner that takes care of all the rehab needs for the patient whether they go home of if they have outpatient rehab.”


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