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Orthop Nurs. 2012 Jul-Aug;31(4):236-40; quiz 241-2. doi: 10.1097/NOR.0b013e31825dfe23.

Best practices in orthopaedic inpatient care.

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University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Most patients admitted in the hospital requiring skilled nursing care are at risk for adverse events or complications from their conditions and treatments. They require close observation during their hospital stays, and care providers must be prepared to detect and intervene quickly when complications occur. Orthopaedic patients are a unique surgical patient population in that their underlying physical conditions, operative locations, and comorbidities can place them at higher risk for complications or adverse events than many other surgical patients. Orthopaedic patients are usually admitted to general acute care surgical units where there are no monitoring devices and the staffing ratios are less intense. In the event that a higher level of surveillance is needed, current practice is to transfer the patient to a care area with telemetry or hardwired monitoring capability, which can result in deviation from the orthopaedic care pathway. In this article, we describe the implementation of best care practices that combine lower nurse to patient ratios, innovative and effective patient education, and continuous surveillance using novel technology in an orthopaedic unit. Data demonstrate that this multifaceted approach to high-quality orthopaedic care has contributed to better patient outcomes.

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