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What is an Orthopaedic Triage Assessment?

In healthcare, triage assessments are designed to help patients get on the right ‘clinical pathway’ to achieve success as soon as possible.

Simply put, the goal is to prevent delayed, inappropriate or inadequate treatment that may result in failure.

An orthopaedic triage assessment is designed to help patients  – with both acute and chronic orthopaedic conditions –  receive the highest standard of evidence-based care as soon as possible.

On a practical level, orthopaedic triage assessments are designed to answer key questions such as:

  1. What is the diagnosis of my injury or condition and what is the best treatment plan for me?
  2. Do I need diagnostic imaging such as x-rays, an ultrasound or an MRI?
  3. How long will it take for my injury to get better?
  4. Can I get better at home?
  5. Who is the most appropriate healthcare professional that I should see for my condition?
  6. Are there activities or exercises that I should be doing at home to help myself get better?
  7. Are there activities or exercises that I should not be doing?
  8. Do I really need to see an orthopaedic surgeon for my injury or condition?
  9. If I saw a surgeon today, what is the probability that I would be offered surgery?

The Consequences of Delayed,  Inadequate or Inappropriate Orthopaedic Care

Unfortunately,   Canadians who receive delayed, inadequate or inappropriate treatment for an orthopaedic injury or condition are considered to be at a higher risk:

  1. To develop chronic and disabling neuromuscular pain.
  2. To become dependent on prescription pain medications,
  3. To develop permanent disability that prevents them from working or performing normal activities of daily living,
  4. To place a greater burden on their families and other caregivers for support over their lifetime.
  5. To become increasingly dependent on the healthcare system over their lifetime.
  6. For patients who’ve undergone orthopaedic surgery and returned home without access to  a local physiotherapist, there is a greater possibility that they (a) will not do their rehab properly or regularly,  (b) will fail to meet their rehab goals on schedule and (c)  potentially achieve a sub-par surgical outcome / result.



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