Health Check: Fatima honored for knee-hip program

It's been just a few days since Cheryl DiLibero had knee replacement surgery at Fatima Hospital in North Providence.

She suffered with severe knee pain for three years. The biggest selling point was her doctor, Robert Buonanno.

"That's the most important thing is to trust your doctor, and I had total trust in him," DiLibero said.

She was pleasantly surprised that her care at Fatima went beyond the doctor.

"It's all derived on our new model of patient care. Everything's about the patient and about the patient's family," Buonanno said.

It starts even before surgery. The patient meets with a nurse to go over the entire process.

"And then when they come in for their surgery that same nurse is taking care of them, and we try to do it so that each patient only has two nurses and they work 12-hour shifts. So, there's a relationship that develops between the patient, the family, the nursing staff, physicians," Buonanno said.

It doesn't hurt that the recovery floor has been remodeled. Each room is private and welcoming to both patient and their families, should they choose to stay overnight.

"It's been great. The staff has been great. The doctors have been great. The rooms are nice. It's like being in a hotel," DiLibero said.

"They form relationships, and those relationships make our length of stay shorter. Our readmission numbers are coming down because people and the families know how to take care of the patients," Buonanno said.

It is because of this high level of care that The Joint Commission, a nonprofit that accredits more than 19,000 health-related organizations, recently awarded Fatima's hip and knee replacement program with its gold seal of approval.

"It's evidence based. We have an on-site review and an off-site review," Buonanno said.

Fatima is the only hospital in Rhode Island to receive the high honor for its knee and hip surgery program.

Fatima's hip and knee surgery program isn't the only area to receive a gold seal from The Joint Commission. Fatima is the only hospital in New England to receive a gold seal for its diabetes care.