How to Choose the Best Hospital For Your Surgery

How to Choose the Best Hospital For Your Surgery

If your doctor determined that a surgery is necessary for you to get better, you are probably wondering where to have it done. With many options in medical travel care around the globe, how do you choose? In this blog, we will talk about some points to consider when searching for the best hospital to have a procedure done.

Like most people, you are probably looking to for a facility that has the best outcomes for the type of surgery you are seeking, offers quality care before, during and after the procedure and has comfortable amenities for recovery. We offer you some insights into what to look for and how to obtain the information needed.

Accreditations and Awards

First and foremost, ensure that a hospital of your choice is a reputable one. There are a few companies that offer hospital accreditations. The most known one is Joint Commission International (JCI), which is considered a gold standard in global healthcare. Other organizations such as Accreditation Canada and Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) provide for a way to tell that the facility has met the accredited body health care standards. Many good hospitals are also winners of various awards in excellent care. All this information can be found on the hospital’s website. Ensure you know what the accreditation and award organizations check and rate.

Important hospital statistics

The next step would be to look at a hospital infection, re-admission and mortality rates and compare it to a state, province or country average. This should also be available on the hospitals’ website. Some hospitals make it a point to tell their patients what they are doing about lowering those rates, which is an indicator of being proactive and caring about the outcomes.  Also, check with the states’ or provinces’ department of health. Many of them now require monitoring for serious reportable events or incidents (SRE/SRI) – preventable, adverse events that are unambiguous, and largely, if not entirely preventable, such as operating on a wrong body part, performing a wrong surgery and so on.

When researching a hospital, look for a number of surgeries performed a year for your particular type of surgery. It takes practice to become an expert and there is proficiency in numbers.   Ask the hospital if they have a floor for recovery and an operating room just for your type of surgery.  Nurse to patient ratio is also used to assess the quality and ease of access to pre- and post-surgery care.

Brand names vs smaller facilities

Famous names and large hospitals are not always the best for your type of procedure.  Smaller regional hospitals can do a better job at a better price. Smaller cities can be easier to access with less traffic, more parking and larger hospital rooms.  Many smaller independent surgical facilities employ surgeons that also operate at large brand-name hospitals.

Finding out the pros and cons of the different facilities can be time-consuming and confusing.  Health Vantis can do all the legwork for you and present you with 2-3 options so that you can focus on getting better.  Contact us for your free 1-hour consultation to learn more.

Health Vantis


7 Things to Do Before Your Private Total Knee Replacement Surgery


7 Things To Do Before Your Private Total Knee Replacement

Planning early and thinking ahead about how a private total knee replacement will affect your life and stress level will help you manage the recovery.  We offer 7 tips for you to consider.

Exercise your leg muscles and try to get in better shape physically – start about 2 to 3 months prior to surgery

If you are considered a good candidate for a private knee replacement by your orthopedic surgeon, he or she may advise an exercise program before surgery. Due to pain and limited mobility, the strength of your muscles declines. Your successful recovery depends on your general health and the strength of your muscles pre-op. Although the reason you probably stopped using those muscles was due to pain, you can schedule a visit with a physiotherapist to talk about how to carry out an exercise plan.

Quit smoking.

It is not good for your general health period but will also hinder the recovery, not to mention an increased risk of heart attack, DVT or stroke.  Smoking decreases your blood flow.  This can slow the healing process making you more vulnerable to infection and circulatory problems.*Note that some surgeons require you to demonstrate a negative urine test before your surgery is scheduled.

Hold off in having another cortisone injection.

Research has shown that there is an increased risk of infection when someone recently had a cortisone injection and then proceeds for their surgery.  Most doctors like to wait at least 3 months to do the surgery for this reason, however, we have known some that will proceed after 1 month.  Talk to your doctor prior to having an injection if you are considering surgery.

Talk to your doctor about what is required prior to your surgery such as blood tests or what medications you can continue taking.

Before the doctor schedules your surgery date you will likely need pre-operative tests such as an EKG or current blood work.  These are essential so the anesnthesiologist can clear you as being fit for surgery.  Most blood tests and EKG’s are valid to use within a 3 month period.  If you are having your surgery privately, these can be ordered through your GP and done locally.

Your doctor will also have a conversation with you about your current medications and whether you can continue taking them, for example, blood thinners. An appointment with an anesthesiologist will be set up to discuss all of this prior to your surgery.  Some doctors have you start certain medications such as an antibiotic or pain management prior to your surgery as well.

Prepare your home for recovery

If you live by yourself ask a friend or a relative to stay with you or stay at their place for a week after you come back from the hospital. You will not be able to drive for about 6 weeks.  You will need a responsible adult to drive you home and stay with you for 24-48 hours after your surgery.  Hiring an Uber driver or taxi is not allowed and you will not be released otherwise, especially if you traveling for your surgery.  A travel companion is required.

It is preferred to stay on one level without having to climb stairs.  Clear out your hallways so that you can move around freely.  Get some things to make yourself more comfortable: raised toilet seat, stable shower bench or chair for bathing, long-handled sponge or shower hose, a grabber to reach for things, slip on shoes, bed rails if needed, walker/crutches/cane. Some of these can be rented at no charge from your local Red Cross. Make sure you book early, as availability may differ.  Ensure you have a sufficient amount of frozen meals or have someone prepare your meals for the first week after the procedure.

Rent an ice cooling device such as Ossur Cold Rush or Kodiak Cold Therapy for a month if you are able to afford one.

Have cold packs and ice packs in the freezer if you are not able to get the cooling device. Cooling your knee after the operation will help you manage the pain and increase your comfort level post-surgery.  This encourages you to move around and speed up the recovery.

You will be given a detailed list of the day before” and the morning of” instructions to follow.  Ensure you follow them precisely.

You will be given a set of instructions to prepare you for the day before surgery and the morning of.  It is essential you follow these instructions as directed to ensure a safe surgery and to make sure you’ve brought with you necessary items if traveling for surgery.

If you get sick with the flu, cold or fever shortly before, be prepared to reschedule the surgery until you recover.

Arrange for physiotherapy before you have the surgery and follow through with it after.

You will probably have a couple of sessions with physiotherapist while you are still in the hospital. To ensure your successful recovery, you have to do exercises to strengthen your new knee.  Call around to find a physiotherapist who specializes in therapy after joint replacement. Your provincial health care plan or supplemental insurance may cover some of the cost.

You may be put on a blood thinner to prevent blood clotting post-surgery. If you are traveling for a private knee replacement, keep in mind the possibility of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) increases dramatically if your flight is over 4 hours. Your doctor may also ask you to wear TED (Thrombo-Embolic Deterrent).

Health Vantis offers private total knee replacements at facilities that are 4 hours or less away from your home to ensure that you are not taking on more risks. We can also take care of finding and arranging the physiotherapy after your surgery. That is part of our white glove service to all of our clients.

*This information is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.

Health Vantis




Considerations for Total Knee Replacement


Knee pain can be excruciating. The knee joint is a major weight-bearing joint that is often taken for granted until it is injured or affected by osteoarthritis. In March we will have a series of blogs about the knee. This first one talks about potential treatments your doctor may have you try in order to preserve your joint, rebuild the muscles surrounding the joint to prevent further injury or decrease your pain so you are not lead down the road to a knee replacement.

Each patient is going to have their own unique treatment plan based on the circumstances to their knee pain such as: Was there an injury, tear, knee dislocation, fracture to the bone, arthritis developed as a result of a previous injury or just arthritis due to age.

Several things have to be carefully considered when your doctor determines what is the best treatment plan for you. Some of those are, but not limited to, duration of pain, location and reason for the pain, mobility, pain level, age, physical activity level, BMI, other medical history, or social risk factors such as smoking.

Total joint replacement surgeries are usually the last resort for those suffering from knee pain. There are many options to try prior to your doctor even considering or recommending a replacement. Below we will explore those options that are less invasive that may prevent you from going down the road to surgery.

  1. Anti-inflammatories, analgesics or short-term narcotics for pain control – The choice your doctor may prescribe depends on many things such as the severity of your pain level, a reason for the pain ie. swelling due to injury or arthritis, and other health risk factors. Many times, doctors choose to give anti-inflammatories or analgesics for mild to moderate pain and reserve narcotics for those with severe pain.
  2. Physiotherapy or exercise – The best way to rebuild a knee or decrease the pain is to gain proper mobility and strengthen the muscles around it to support it from further injury or deterioration. Structured exercises to isolate the issue can be done through the recommendation of a physiotherapist.
  3. Knee brace or orthotic shoes – Keeping your knee stabilized with a brace or wearing special orthotic shoes can give you extra support.
  4. Ice, heat, gels/creams or elevation – Something as easy as icing and elevating your knee can help decrease swelling which will, in turn, decrease your pain level. Heat works well for pain as do non-steroidal anti-inflammatory creams or gels.
  5. Weight loss – Lifestyle changes such as weight loss can be incredibly important. All of your weight bears down on your knees so the healthier you are and within a normal BMI range, the less stress your knee has to endure.
  6. Smoking cessation – Smoking is a bad habit in general and has many serious known complications. When you have an injury, smoking will interfere with your recovery. Not only will it prolong the healing process, it may also cause additional inflammation making it more difficult to get the pain under control and have the necessary mobility to rehabilitate your knee.
  7. Cortisone injection – These injections can be useful for decreasing the inflammation and pain in the short term. Their effect wears off within a few weeks to 3 months and may need to be repeated as needed.
  1. Hyaluronic acid injections – Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance that can give the joint fluid its viscosity. These injections take about 8 weeks to have their full effect and will typically last for 24 weeks.
  2. Platelet-rich plasma injections – Many people, especially athletes, are familiar with this procedure due to Tiger Woods when he utilized it for his injured knee. The process involves drawing your own blood, centrifuging it down to get the platelet-rich plasma and injecting it back into the injured tissue. The hope is to stimulate and optimize your body’s natural ability to heal the injury.
  3. iOvera treatment – This treatment is a cold therapy that kills away targeted sensory nerves around the knee that prevent the nerve from sending pain signals to the brain. It is injected into the skin and will last about 6 months. Because this is not permanently damaging or killing the nerve, the nerve will regenerate and grow back over time so the process may need to be repeated.

Keep in mind that not every one of these treatment plans will be appropriate for you. Consideration should be given to all these factors during a consultation with an orthopedic specialist and it may be recommended you try many of them at the same time.

As we age our joints can get arthritis. It damages the bone and the cartilage, thus making it very painful to move. Severe arthritis is not reversible and the affected joint does not usually improve on its own. Keeping the knee healthy when this first starts is key to further degeneration.

All of these treatments may not be available in your province.  If you are in a situation like this and your doctor feels you could benefit from one of them, contact us and we will help you find a facility that can. or 877-344-3544

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.

Health Vantis