Those of us who work in ASCs can easily forget that many health care consumers are not familiar with the services we provide. If a patient hasn’t been directed to an ambulatory setting for surgical care, they are often unaware that freestanding ASCs exist. If they’ve had surgery in a hospital’s outpatient department (HOPD), they may not be aware alternative outpatient settings are available.
While we know the benefits of choosing an ASC over a hospital setting, our patients experience the care we provide from a completely different point of view. While it is uncommon for patients to have the same procedure performed both in a hospital and at an ASC, one of our billing service employees was able to offer this unique perspective.
We hope her story resonates with you. It may even help you identify what makes your ASC a facility of choice for your physicians and patients.
Here’s her story:
“The day we had been dreading for years finally arrived. My husband could no longer walk without significant pain. He needed a left knee replacement. He had his right knee replaced 10 years earlier in a hospital setting. The process went about as badly as any could go. But now, he could no longer hold out. We made an appointment with a surgeon.
Our surgeon, Dr. Ian Weber, described a newer process for the procedure including a post-operative pain block. He suggested my husband was a good candidate for having the procedure in an ambulatory surgery center instead of a hospital. We chose The Surgery Center at Lutheran.
We arrived at 6:00 on a Monday morning. Within 10 minutes a nurse took us back to pre-op and explained the procedure my husband would undergo. During each step of the process, the nurses made sure we both understood what was occurring and why. Within an hour, my husband was prepped for surgery and off he went. Approximately two hours later a nurse came to let me know he was in recovery and led me back to stay with him. My husband recognized and spoke to me immediately.
From that point forward, the recovery nurse never left our line of sight. She checked on my husband frequently to see if he needed anything and assessed how the pain block was wearing off. She explained the goals he needed to achieve to be released and then helped him accomplish them. By noon he was sitting up, eating lunch, and ready for physical therapy. Around 1:00 p.m., with the aid of crutches, he walked around the surgery center. The physical therapist was on one side and the recovery nurse on the other side to ensure his safety. By 2:00 p.m., the surgery center released my husband to go home with me.
What a difference! Ten years earlier, my husband spent four days in the hospital with various nurses assigned to his care. Unfortunately, shift changes represented a step backwards as each new nurse needed to be brought current with my husband’s condition. This year he spent eight hours at an ASC with one recovery nurse who knew exactly what was going on with my husband every step of the way. The ability for my husband to sleep in his own bed that night and recover at home was amazing. The difference between the two experiences could not have been greater.
We are grateful to The Surgery Center at Lutheran and their amazing staff. If we ever need surgery again, we will choose an ASC over a hospital stay.”
-The Pinnacle III Team