– Joining forces to address the state’s waiting lists for joint replacements –
Four patients from Paarl Hospital in the Cape Winelands District underwent much needed joint replacement surgeries that will relieve them from years of pain, and give them a new lease on life.
These surgeries were made possible through the intervention of the Spear Health Foundation, established by the former Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha. Spear Health Foundation focuses on finding funding for state patients who are in desperate need of operations or treatments. One of Spear Health’s Foundation projects is The Joint Project.
Although Paarl Hospital has a state-of-the-art and well-functioning orthopaedic department, it has a waiting list of over 350 patients who require arthroplasty related surgery. Arthroplasty surgery specifically focuses on surgically reconstructing or replacing a joint. Based on the great need for this type of surgery, the Western Cape Government Health is thankful for The Joint Project initiative to affect positive change in the lives of the greater community.
Pain relief is the key benefit for any individual who undergoes joint replacement surgery, because the diseased cartilage and bone are removed. Other benefits include gains in functional activity, particularly mobility as well as an overall improvement to the individual’s life.
Physiotherapy plays a significant role in the recovery time and the patient’s ability to walk normally again. These patients will undergo intense physiotherapy for the next two to three months, at which time they should be able to lead normal lives.
Theuns Botha, founder and director of the Spear Health Foundation, says, “Joint surgery is widely recognized as one of the most successful operations. It is sad that that the state does not have the resources to match the demand. We need support to fund these operations, and call on funders to join this cause.”
Some short background about the four patients:
Mrs. Gertrude Adams (65) is from Paarl. Mrs. Adams is married, with two sons and four grandchildren. A former carer at an old age home, Mrs. Adams enjoys singing and has been an active member of the Frank Peterson Choir for the past nine years and a church choir member for just over 20 years.
Due to her ailing knee Mrs. Adams is unable to complete simple house tasks; this is quite frustrating, as she always requires the assistance of her walking aid to complete activities such as cooking and cleaning.
After recovery, Mrs. Adams looks forward to travelling internationally with her fellow choristers to participate in competitions. She also looks forward to spending time with her grandchildren and husband and supporting him with his sporting activities. “I would also like to visit the senior members at our local old age home. Since having this illness, I can relate to seniors who have a similar problem and hope to help them with their daily activities,” says Adams.
Mrs. Dorothy Rhoda (77) is from Stellenbosch. Mrs. Rhoda is married, with five children and six grandchildren. She had her right knee surgically replaced during October 2015 at Paarl Hospital and is looking forward to having her left knee replaced on the 31st of August 2016.
Mrs. Rhoda highlights that she has been an active member in her female church group, but after 40 years of participation, she sadly had to give up her activities due to her ailment. The ailment has also discouraged her from attending funerals, which she loved doing with her husband. “When I go to church I need to rely on other individuals to help me get around, it becomes very frustrating, because I am not able to do these things myself. The pain in my knee is also excruciating,” says Rhoda.
Mrs. Rhoda no relies on the help of her gardener, who willingly assists her with her housework and errands. She looks forward to life after the operation and is confident that she will once again be able to take up her church activities and hobbies such as needlework and knitting.
Mrs. Cathleen Salomo (61) is a widower from Wellington with one daughter and one grandson. She has been on the waiting list since 2003. She will be having her right hip replacement on the 30th of August 2016. An active baker, Mrs. Salomo loves baking for her family and friends, but because of her ailment she isn’t able to do it as frequently as possible. With the assistance of her daughter Mrs. Salomo is able to do a daily housework and complete tasks, she however highlights that she would prefer to do these activities independently instead of having to rely on her daughter.
Mrs. Salomo looks forward to visit her family and friends without having to endure the great discomfort she currently finds herself in. She also looks forward to picking up her daily tasks in and around her home.
Mr. Ralph Lamberts (65) is also from Stellenbosch. Mr. Lamberts is married, with three sons and six grandchildren. Due to his ailments, Mr. Lamberts was medically boarded in 2014 from his employment as a mechanic. Mr. Lamberts had his left hip surgically replaced during October 2015 at Paarl Hospital and is looking forward to having his right knee replaced on the 31st of August 2016.
A self-confessed Jack-of-all-trades, Mr. Lamberts enjoys keeping his hands busy, be it gardening or housework. He highlights that it has become a bit easier to complete tasks since his first hip surgery. “I am very excited and thankful that I am able to receive my second hip surgery. There are many individuals that require this surgery and I am thankful and humbled that I have been selected to be one of them,” says Lamberts. A music lover, Mr. Lamberts hope that he will be able to resume his ballroom dancing activities when his hip has healed.
THE JOINT PARTNERS
The partners joining hands with Spear Health Foundation for The Joint Project is the Western Cape Government Health, Paarl Hospital, the Joint Care Trust and Smith & Nephew.
The Joint Care Trust is a non-profit organization established by joint surgeons, Dr Deon Engela and Dr Nick Martin. The Trust is actively involved in seeking sponsorship of arthroplasty implants as well as consumables and theatre time in the private sector.