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Robert’s Story

Robert Knott, 70-year-old grandfather from Carshalton, Surrey.

When 70-year-old Robert Knott had a full left knee replacement in October 2020, his pre-op assessment experience was vastly different from when he had his right knee replaced six years ago at the same hospital. 

Back then, he had to attend a timed appointment at South West London Elective Orthopaedic Centre (SWLEOC), based at Epsom hospital, to fill in the paperwork for a health assessment before his right knee operation could take place. This time around, for his left knee surgery, he was able to do the pre-op assessment from the comfort of his own home and at a time convenient for him by using the online LifeBox POA app. SWLEOC first introduced the app in summer 2019 and now all of its orthopaedic patients, and those of its four partner trusts, are pre-assessed for surgery using the online LifeBox POA app.

Robert, a grandfather of thirteen, says: “It is so convenient not having to visit the hospital to be seen, with LifeBox, I could do it from home when I wanted to.”

Robert first had problems with his knees about thirty years ago. He says it is a combination of hereditary osteoarthritis on his mother’s side of the family, and work and sports activities that probably put excessive strain on his joints.

“I used to race off-road motorcycles, and during my earlier days I also did Judo, Kendo, weight training and was involved with a wrestling tag team. My lifetime job of working with mobile cranes also involved some heavy lifting. Even though I am 70 years old, I wanted to carry on working, but my knee pain and reduced mobility, especially on construction sites, meant I had to accept retirement.”

When he was given an operation date in October, he was also given a LifeBox password to complete the pre-op assessment at home. He admits that computer technology is not his strong point, joking that if the computer does what it is supposed to do he is okay, but if there are any problems, he has to shout for help from a younger family member. But he found the LifeBox app “straightforward” and it took him about 20 minutes to complete.

Until the COVID-19 crisis struck in March this year, SWLEOC found the biggest benefit of LifeBox had been saving time for both the patient and staff. Since the pandemic, the app has come into its own, remotely helping to triage patients like Robert and avoiding unnecessary hospital visits.