John-David Allen, a retired United States Army Colonel, thought he knew what to expect when he returned to Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center for a right knee replacement. After all, he had his left knee replaced there four years ago – and his wife volunteers at the hospital. Yet the staff exceeded John-David’s expectations.
“The attention to detail and professionalism demonstrated by your staff was outstanding,” said John-David. “If I had to push the button for help, they came to me right away. But I usually didn’t have to. They were stopping by every hour. I have type II diabetes and high blood pressure. I’ve been around a lot of nurses. I see the Sentara staff so focused. “
PASS (pre-anesthesia surgery screen) Unit Nurse Phyllis Marinucci worked with John-David before he came to the hospital, preparing him on what to expect and making sure he was ready physically.
“I’m the only one in the unit who calls people who are having a total knee or hip replacement. It’s part of a new program. I spend about 35 to 40 minutes asking questions about their health,” Phyllis explained. “I cover all aspects of the patients’ lives, from allergies to heart concerns. I also talk to people who attend our ortho-joint class. It’s a class where the patients learn what to expect before, during and after their operation.”
From a good start to a great ending
As much care and preparation went into John-David’s time in the hospital and his release. Serving as an extra set of eyes for him was Surgical Unit Care Coordinator Jim Favareau:
"Floor nurses often have to focus on what is currently going on, the immediate step in front of them. They don’t necessarily have time to consider the next step,” said Jim. “Care coordinators work with all the nurses, the doctors, the physical therapists, the occupational therapists and social workers to plan.”
Jim identifies barriers that his patients are facing when they leave the hospital and issues that could cause them to return – things like financial struggles, no transportation, or confusion about their treatment.
“I might need to call the insurance company to arrange for a walker for the patient. Or I might see if he qualifies for any discounts for a walker. I could arrange for the walker’s delivery. I would follow up and see that it got to the patient,” Jim shared.
John-David only needed guidance on connecting with Sentara Home Care, which came to his house the weeks right after his surgery. He was once again impressed with the care he received.
“I though maybe I was getting extra attention because my wife volunteers at the hospital,” said John-Allen. “I asked, and it turns out that no one I met knew that.”