Joint Replacement Center Certified for Excellence

Dr. James Ramser, orthopedic surgeon, has a few words with patient Robert Wheeler before his knee replacement
Dr. James Ramser, orthopedic surgeon, has a few words with patient Robert Wheeler before his knee replacement surgery.

Rodger Baker, CEO and president of Fauquier Health, in Warrenton, Virginia, has announced that the Joint Commission has awarded Fauquier Health’s Center of excellence for Joint replacement a Certificate of Distinction for its commitment to excellence. The Joint Replacement Commission is the oldest and largest accrediting agency for hospitals nationwide.

The certification was awarded after an extensive study of the center, its clinical procedures, documentation policies, patient satisfaction and outcomes.

Former patient Carol Gilliam wasn’t surprised when she found out about the honor. She has experienced the center’s excellence firsthand – twice.

Carol first started to notice the pain in her knees in 2001. At first she was able to manage it with over-the-counter pain medication, but by 2004 her pain had progressed significantly. On a much-anticipated trip with her husband to California, Carol was in so much pain that she was unable to leave their hotel room.

That trip convinced Carol to tell her physician that she was ready for a permanent solution. She met with Dr. James Ramser of Blue Ridge Orthopaedic and Spine Center, and some of the Fauquier Hospital Joint Replacement Center staff to discuss the replacement surgery. They told her what to expect and what she would need to do afterward to have the best outcome.

In January of 2005, Dr. Ramser performed the knee replacement surgery on Carol’s most painful knee. Carol said, “A knee replacement successful surgery is the first step of course, but it’s important to follow your recovery program. They told me I would need physical therapy and that I would need to do everything they told me to do.”

Carol was so happy with the results that she soon scheduled surgery for the second knee. Looking back, she has no regrets. “Three months after my second surgery I traveled across the country with no problems, and then we went to Germany and I walked everywhere, even up and down lots of steps.”

Carol’s husband Frank said, “Carol got her life back, and I got my wife back. We are very lucky to have a hospital like this in our community. We love it. The staff is great.”

The journey to the Center of Excellence designation did not happen overnight. Blue Ridge Orthopaedic’s Dr. David Snyder began in 2004 to guide the hospital’s center of excellence development team through nearly five years of progressive changes.

Dr. Ramser said that since the initiative first began, the process of care has improved dramatically. “Years ago, before we started to use the center model, everyone did his or her own job but it was more about the mechanics of getting the job done. With the center concept, everyone is part of a bigger team. Now, everyone from the physician to therapist, nurses and cleaning staff is focused on one thing – to have a happy patient with good outcomes. It is a huge step forward and it is great to have official recognition from the Joint Commission.”

Dr. Ramser points to the best technology as another contributor to the center’s success. “For example, the recently adopted Brain Lab is world-class technology for precise, three-dimensional information during surgeries.” Brain Lab is computer-assisted surgery – sort of a GPS system for joint surgeries.

Dr. Ramser is especially proud of the hospital’s track record in infection control. “A frequent concern in all hospitals is always the chance of infection during surgery, which can never be completely eliminated. But our rate is extremely low, about one third of one percent, which is far below the national average.”

Carol Gilliam offers advice to those considering joint replacement: “If your doctor says you are ready and if you are ready to commit to what you need to do, then joint replacement could be the best decision you ever made.”

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