Step onto the fourth floor of the Turkey Creek Medical Center and the atmosphere is dramatically different in the new Tennova Center for Orthopedics.
“The great thing about it is that it’s a dedicated unit,” said Benjamin Youree, chief executive officer of Turkey Creek Medical Center. “When you are coming in for your knee replacement, you’re not intertwined with sick patients.”
Tennova Healthcare started work on the new orthopedics facility in October, and the first patients checked in this past March.
According to Valerie Tuelle, director of the unit, they mostly see total hip replacement and both partial and total knee replacement cases. The center offers advanced, minimally invasive, and rapid-recovery surgical techniques.
“We want to not only support the patients that we have, but to attract new patients,” she said. “Typically those in their 60s and 70s — we are trying to keep pace with the baby boomer group’s needs.
“The difference is how we approach doing these procedures,” Youree said. “It’s just the overall environment of wellness. They are treated as well patients; they wear their own clothes and don’t need to wear a patient gown.
“First and foremost, we do not see our orthopedics patients as being sick,” he said. “Instead, we see our patients as healthy individuals who are coming to the hospital because they have hip or knee pain — and want to live a better quality of life by having joint replacement surgery.”
The 13-bed unit features private patient rooms with recliners for overnight guests, a light-filled group therapy room and spacious bathrooms.
“We did a tremendous amount of reconstruction to add the center,” Youree said of the 13,000 square-foot facility. “It was a not a decision of going up or out, but retrofitting the space. It’s brand new and every detail was considered.”
Because patients have to walk a certain number of steps before they can be discharged, they have integrated a nice path to walk around the unit, according to Youree.
“We focus on wellness, and encourage patients to team up with a support person,” he said. “They go through the process with the same person, tracking the number of steps, and maybe there is a little bit of competition (among patients).”
Tuelle said that patients are first introduced through a “Joint Camp,” which is facilitated by the orthopedic care coordinator.
“Every step from pre-op, to the procedure, to the inpatient stay, followed by in-room, group and home therapy, is laid out for the orthopedic patients,” she said.
Patients are even shown where they will stay overnight.
“It helps them to know that they are part of the process,” Youree said.
Education, early mobility, family involvement and group interaction create an environment to maximize patient recovery. All staff members receive specialized training and are chosen to work on the unit because of their expertise, positive attitude, and motivational skills, according to Youree.
Having a family member or friend with the patient throughout the process is crucial, he said.
“A lot of their rehabilitation is going to happen after they leave here, and for that person to understand that process and what they are going through helps,” Youree said.
Education is the main theme throughout the process.
“There are going to be people at different points in that decision-making process who are considering their options,” Youree said. “We offer various seminars to educate. Surgery might not be right for everyone, so we have arthritis seminars kicking off later this month and that goes a little bit into joint replacements to try to connect them with the right decision process.”
Youree said the center plans to incorporate a movie night in the therapy room and offer a special VIP menu to be enjoyed after the procedure.
The Tennova Center for Orthopedics will celebrate its grand opening with an event August 25. A ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4:30 p.m. will be followed by an open house from 4:45 p.m.-6 p.m.
The open house will provide an opportunity for existing and new orthopedic patients, as well as the public, to meet members of the team of physicians, nurses, therapists and case managers. The event will feature tours of the unit, and refreshments will be served.
“This new center is one example of Tennova’s commitment to investing in our hospital and this community,” Youree said. “Our orthopedics team is dedicated to providing patients with personalized care in a safe and comfortable setting. This new center allows us to help more people each year to gain relief from joint pain, restore normal function, and return to an active lifestyle.”
The Tennova Healthcare network includes 16 hospitals and more than 115 physician clinics. In addition to the new clinic at the Turkey Creek Medical center, Tennova Healthcare also offers joint-replacement surgery at the Tennova Center for Advanced Orthopedics at Physicians Regional Medical Center in Knoxville.
What: Tennova Center for Orthopedics at Turkey Creek Medical Center, Community Open House
When: 4:30 p.m. (ribbon cutting); 4:45-6 p.m. Aug. 25, 2016
Where: Tennova Center for Orthopedics, 4th floor, Turkey Creek Medical Center, 10820 Parkside Drive, Knoxville.