An agency in eastern Ontario is launching an effort to bring down the long wait times for knee and hip replacement surgery in Ontario, Canada.
Currently, wait times for knee replacement and hip replacement surgery can be almost a year in many parts of eastern Ontario, compared with a provincial average of under 200 days. To help reduce this wait time, the Champlain Local Health Integration Network plans to launch a “Regional Hip and Knee Replacement Program” in early 2010, which is aimed at improving the quality of care offered to residents of the region. ”The idea is to try and reduce wait times” and “improve efficiencies,” said Dr. John Gordon, the lead physician for the program.
Wait times are a common theme for patients with debilitating osteoarthritis. While some methods are available to delay the need for knee replacement and hip replacement surgery, most patients with severe osteoarthritis of the hip or knee must, sooner or later, pursue joint replacement surgery to treat the problem. The long waiting lists in many parts of Canada require many patients to suffer pain and reduced mobility in the months leading up to surgery.
There are concerns that, if the United States adopts a healthcare system similar to that in Canada, there will be similar issues related to waiting lists. Since osteoarthritis is not considered a life-threatening condition, joint replacement surgery is often put off until it has reached a very advanced stage, which has large implications for the quality of life of those afflicted by osteoarthritis.