Islanders with joint pain benefiting from new orthopedic clinic

Tara Roche RN, and Shauna Wright NP, Robert Mitchell, Minister of Health and Wellness

Islanders living with joint pain are now benefiting from a new specialized orthopedic clinic, providing faster pre-surgical and non-surgical care. 

The new Orthopedic Intervention Clinic is led by a nurse practitioner with specialized training who collaborates with the province’s five orthopedic surgeons and was made possible through a $225,800 government investment over two fiscal years. More than 80 Islanders have already been assessed at the clinic since it launched last month. 

“Ensuring Islanders have access to appropriate health care professionals at the right time is extremely important. The new orthopedic intervention clinic has improved access to services and provides added support to our team of physicians,” said Health and Wellness Minister Robert Mitchell. “We expect to see improvements in patient flow, quicker access to an orthopedic specialist and better supports for Islanders living with joint pain.” 

“This new clinic is groundbreaking for our patients,” said orthopedic surgeon Dr. Stephen Miller. “We recognize that not everyone who is referred to our service will require joint surgery. Through this new clinic, and with the leadership of the nurse practitioner, we can offer Islanders more supports and non-surgical interventions earlier so that we are managing their condition sooner with the specialized care they need, when they need it.”

Islanders must be referred to the clinic by their primary care provider (family physician or nurse practitioner). Referrals are assessed by the orthopedic surgeons and nurse practitioner to determine if the patient requires surgery or whether they can more appropriately benefit from non-surgical interventions. 

The orthopedic nurse practitioner manages care plans for patients with hip, knee and shoulder problems, may provide non-surgical treatments such as medications, referrals to physiotherapist or dietitian, joint injections, as well as provide pre-surgical education and preparation to patients requiring total hip or total knee replacements. 

“My goal is to improve a patient’s quality of life,” said Shauna Wright, orthopedic nurse practitioner. “Through the clinic we are collaboratively supporting Islanders living with severe joint pain so that they can lead healthy and active lives. This involves optimizing care and exploring all non-surgical treatment options. For patients who do require surgery, this means working with them to ensure they are as healthy as possible and prepared for surgery.”

“The majority of patients assessed in the clinic won’t actually require surgery, not yet anyway. My job is to provide comprehensive physical assessment, optimize non-surgical interventions, and collaborate with other health care providers such as physiotherapists, dietitians and chronic disease clinicians as needed. This holistic approach will help to manage factors contributing to a patient’s joint issue and delay or defer the need for surgery,” added Wright.  

Prince Edward Island’s new Orthopedic Intervention Clinic will: 

  • improve client co-ordination and optimize quality care;
  • provide more timely access to non-surgical care; and, 
  • improve the overall health, well-being and quality of life for Islanders living with joint pain.

Referrals to specialized orthopedic services for consultations and surgery continue to grow year-over-year. From April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2018, there were 2,051 referrals for hips and knees to the orthopedic service, of which 24 per cent required a total joint replacement. The other 76 per cent did not require surgery. 

Media contact:
Amanda Hamel
Senior Communications Officer
Health PEI
(902) 368-6135 

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