As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, most of our orthopaedic services, including elective surgical slates, are returning to more normal levels. However, some restrictions continue, such as numbers of patients that we can see in the office, and attendance of family accompanying patients. Rigorous screening at all health facilities continues, and physical distancing, use of masks, and hand hygiene are still strongly encouraged. Our practice has attempted to adapt to the new realities and ongoing challenges to provide safe and efficient care to the highest standards during this time.
As all elective orthopaedic surgery was suspended for several months, a considerable backlog of surgical cases has predictably accumulated, adding to already excessive wait times. To address this we are implementing a number of strategies. New scheduling and operational efficiencies are being introduced. Outside anaesthetists are being employed to augment local resources. We are hoping to expand the surgical procedures we are able to perform in Minnedosa. During the surgery shutdown we were able to catch up on some of the backlog of office consults through telephone calls. Some office visits, notably initial post-op follow-ups, are being conducted by phone to limit numbers in the Brandon Clinic and reduce patient travel and exposure.
While we cannot predict what the future effects of COVID-19 will be on our practice, we are attempting to provide the best possible orthopaedic care with efficiencies and resources that can hopefully offset at least some of the limitations placed on us. Surprisingly, there have been some routines we have been forced to adopt that actually seem to represent improvements in patient care. We thank everyone for their patience and continue to encourage people to contact us with any questions, concerns, or feedback during these challenging times.