Would you wait 3 months? Would you wait a year? Would you wait 3 years? I sometimes, wonder what folks do when they wait. Do you ever wonder why they call it a “wait” list.
Well the name is certainly living up to its expectations. I wanted to pass along a couple of links that might provide you with some information on wait list management for total knee replacement surgery here in Nova Scotia and Nationally. First, please visit “NS Department of Health” for wait list information for those here in the province.
The quick and dirty: 90% of people are consulted within 175 days of the service being requested and 90% of the people receive their surgery within 781 days of the service being requested.
OK, so what are all those Nova Scotian folks doing during their 781 days of waiting? I do hope they are not just waiting. In some cases, they might consider moving to another province… For national bench marks in total knee replacement surgery visit this weblink (CIHI) . In fact, in any other province, you can likely (based on the Canadian Institute for Heath Information (CIHI) Database) get your knee replaced sooner. In Canada, the national benchmark for people to receive their total knee replacement is 182 days . In Canada, on average 79% of people receive their new knee within this benchmark. In Nova Scotia however, (the worst in the country by 10%), only 44% of those receiving a total knee replacement, have this surgery within the bench mark wait time.
A couple of solutions?
- Find another name for “wait” list.
- Somehow we have to mobilize the population, get them moving and tackle the “wait” list with physical activity.
- We have to focus on early OA management; helping with the adoption of healthy lifestyle choices that can improve joint, cardiovascular, pulmonary and mental health and may be prevent the requirement of a total knee replacement all together.
- Don’t be afraid that you are going to make the joint worse by engaging in physical activity. You might be pleasantly surprised with what you can accomplish and how good you will feel. While not for everyone, a recent study out of Finland (which might be free) authored by Multanen et al., found that progressive high-impact exercise did not affect the biochemical composition of cartilage of females with early/mild knee OA. The underlying premise of this and other studies is that physical activity will make the joint worse. This is not the case. These studies are beginning to emerge that support the importance of physical activities that challenge people, not only to make folks feel better but also to help combat physical limitations that often accompany knee OA.
If you have any suggestions on how to improve our wait list management and the health of Canadians with osteoarthritis who are just “waiting”, please let me know, your health care provider know or your MLA know. Dr. Suess, in 1990 published his final book “Oh the Places You’ll go”, and coined “The Waiting Place”. 25 years out, are we still there in the management of osteoarthritis?