The introduction of the psychology service at both the Musculoskeletal Management Clinic (MMC) and Conservative Management Service (CMS) at QEII Hospital is offering great results for patients, with all category three orthopaedic patients at the hospital now seen within the recommended timeframes.
Introduced in 2016, the clinic includes psychology two days a week with psychologist, Gemma Bettens intervening with targeted treatment to help patients with ongoing pain-related mental health difficulties in the one clinic at QEII.
“Through the Psychology clinic running alongside CMS, I work closely with the physiotherapists, dietitians and smoking cessation pharmacist, providing a holistic approach to treatment that is effective and efficient for the patient.
“By keeping the patient at our clinic, we can spare them of the long wait times that can be associated with transferring patients outside of QEII to a private clinic for specialised care which used to be the case for psychological help,” she said.
Data has demonstrated that the inclusion of a psychological intervention has had a significant impact on those undergoing treatment, with significant reductions in wait times for orthopaedic patients.
“The holistic approach to care ensures the multifaceted treatment happens at the one place by a consistent team of therapists and demand for the in-house psychology service continuing to grow,” she said.
Psychological treatment typically involves one-on-one sessions where psychosocial factors affecting the patient's ability to manage pain are assessed, and a targeted intervention is applied.
As of this year, group sessions have also been introduced focussing on mindfulness where patients can learn and practice strategies to assist them manage their pain and improve their general wellbeing.