Providing Relief in Dealing with Arthritis:
Musculoskeletal Rapid Access Clinic for Hips and Knees

When Gianna’s hip pain became unbearable last year, she was referred to Halton Healthcare’s Musculoskeletal Rapid Access Clinic (RAC). She was very impressed with how the clinic was able to help her access the surgery she needed so quickly. Today, totally pain free, Gianna says the RAC is the hospital’s best kept secret.

The RAC has been successfully providing some much needed pain relief for patients living with moderate to severe arthritic hip and knee pain since it was established in 2018. With its coordinated intake process, the clinic offers patients timely access to assessment, education, appropriate treatment options, an individualized treatment plan and if deemed appropriate, a referral for surgery.

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“Patient experience is our priority,” explains Justine Wong, Advanced Practice Clinician, Halton Healthcare RAC. “Like Gianna, many patients come to us with significant pain and uncertainty about next steps. We provide them ways to manage their pain, educate them on non-surgical and surgical treatment options, and help them navigate the healthcare system so they can easily access the care and resources they need.”

Patients who do not require a surgical consult are given recommendations including, but not limited to, exercise programs, physiotherapy, assistive devices and links to community resources such as the Arthritis Society.

If the assessment indicates the patient is appropriate for surgical consult, they are referred to an orthopaedic surgeon and given the option of choosing their appointment based on preferred hospital, preferred surgeon and/or the next available appointment. Most patients are seen by an orthopaedic surgeon within four to six weeks.

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“The Rapid Assessment Clinic does an excellent job of assessing patients before we see them on the surgical side. The Advanced Practice Clinicians, usually physiotherapists, have excellent knowledge of osteoarthritis of the hip and knee,” explains Dr Thomas Zochowski, Orthopaedic Surgeon, Halton Healthcare. “Their coordination of the whole process is invaluable - it speeds things up and streamlines the process so patients can get the care they need, when they need it.”

“My care through my entire journey - from assessment to surgery and through my rehabilitation - was absolutely phenomenal thanks to all the wonderful caregivers at Halton Healthcare,” notes Gianna. “I think the RAC is one of the hospital’s best kept secrets. What a wonderful program! It is reassuring to know we have this clinic available in our community at OTMH.”

To date, the clinic has helped more than 2,000 patients.