Spinal injury patients certainly see a lot of hospital – with intensive treatment being followed by months of painstaking rehabilitation in an inpatient facility.
For many patients, there will also be countless follow-up procedures in the years after as they face up to a number of other challenges. These can include urological problems such as urinary incontinence and urinary tract infections – problems that can lead to further hospital visits and additional surgical interventions.
Now, the urology team at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH) in Shropshire is helping to ease the burden on this cohort of patients by offering surgery and tests on a day-case basis.
This means patients who come under the care of the Midland Centre for Spinal Injuries (MCSI) - which is a part of RJAH - can be in and out of hospital on the same day, without the need for an overnight stay.
Hannah Richards, the Urology Sister at the Oswestry-based hospital, said: “Thanks to a new and devoted space in our Menzies Unit, we’re now able to carry out procedures and surgery three days a week on patients.
“A spinal cord injury can interrupt communication between the brain and the nerves in the spinal cord that control the bladder and bowel function, causing incontinence.
“We’re now able to carry out day case urodynamic tests once a week and dedicated cystoscopy lists twice a week.”
An urodynamic test looks at how well the bladder works and a cystoscopy is a procedure to look inside the bladder using a thin camera to diagnose, monitor and treat conditions that affect the bladder.
Mr Joy Chowdhury, Consultant Surgeon in Spinal Injuries and Rehabilitation Medicine, alongside a visiting Consultant Surgeon from The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital, carry out surgery on patients who need intervention.
Rebecca Warren, MCSI Ward Manager, said: “Many spinal cord injury patients will live with a urology condition, so having the support from our team with the management and education of these issues is really beneficial.
“Having the capacity and staff to carry out these procedures as day cases is a huge advantage to us and our patients.
“It means we have more beds on MCSI that can be used for our patients who are in the acute phase of their injury or are undergoing rehabilitation; and for our patients, it allows them to be in and out of hospital within a day.”
Pictured: The RJAH Urology team including Mr Joy Chowdhury, Consultant Surgeon in Spinal Injuries and Rehabilitation Medicine, Hannah Richards, Urology Sister and Rebecca Warren, MCSI Ward Manager.