You will need a special team of loved ones and specialists to guide you through the process of wearing your frame. Since your orthopaedic surgeon has chosen you as a candidate for limb reconstruction, you should know that your surgeon already has confidence in your potential for success. Knowing and utilizing your core team will help you set realistic goals so you will know what to expect at the end of the process.
Dr. Kemp has developed a limb reconstructive team to facilitate your care and enhance the success of your treatment. You will become an important member of that team during this process.
The members of your team are all critical to success. They included you, your spouse/family/significant other, your doctor, nurses, physical therapists, and case managers. Each member of this team is critical to your success as an external fixation patient.
You – You are the most crucial team member because your active participation is valuable to the success of the limb correction process. You will be required to assist with external fixator adjustments, as instructed. You will often be asked to change your lifestyle habits (stop smoking) and pay more attention to your nutrition. Without your dedicated commitment and important feedback along the way, other team members cannot operate as effectively in their roles.
Significant Other – It is important that a parent, sibling, spouse or close friend, someone dedicated to your well-being, be involved in the process from beginning to end. They need to understand the procedure and what to expect as well as you do. Often times, this person assists with daily strut adjustments and pin site care, so they also need to participate in the planning process.
Orthopaedic Surgeon – Unlike some areas of medicine, limb correction requires that your surgeon be involved in every phase of the process. He or she makes the initial evaluation, performs the operation to apply the frame, plans your recovery goal, and closely follows your progress. He is assisted by his nurse and physician's assistant, who are highly trained to care for you as well.
Orthopaedic Clinic Nursing Staff – Your clinic nurse will coordinate the work of the entire team through each phase of your treatment. Your nurse is often the first person to answer questions, listen to concerns, and advise you about problems as they arise.
Physical Therapist – Your physical or occupational therapist will assist in helping you stay as active and independent as possible.
Home Care Discharge Planner – A home care discharge planner will be available in the hospital after surgery to talk about your concerns. They can also help you solve logistical problems such as transportation, temporary housing, and rental of medical equipment such as wheelchairs and/or crutches.
The potential benefits of your treatment with a frame are many, but depend on close cooperation between the members of your team.