For people who make the decision to have joint replacement, their main concern is their recovery and a more mobile life. “Joint center care” is an emerging concept in joint rehabilitation designed to prepare patients for this process from the first night in the hospital to the care needed at home. The main goal of this type of program is to help patients return home to a normal life of activity.
The program begins by providing education classes in the weeks prior to surgery. Patients and a coach of their choosing (usually a friend or relative) will join other patients who are having the same surgery to be educated about what to expect before, during, and after the surgery. Choosing a coach is optional but it is highly recommended, because together they learn how to care for the new joint and what type of help will be needed when they return home. Coaches and patients who participate in this program can be a great source of encouragement to one another.
Prior to your surgery
Nurses and therapists meet with the patients and coaches to plan what type of services they may need after being discharged from the hospital. Some may have a friend or relative to help them at home, but others may need home health or rehab services while they recover. Planning in advance reduces worries after surgery, a time when patients need to focus their energy on recovery.
After the educational part of the joint care program, but still prior to surgery, joint center patients begin the physical strengthening of their body to increase mobility and reduce pain. The temporary use of a walker, crutches, and/or a cane may be necessary. This strengthening part of the joint center program helps patients recover sooner and with fewer complications.
The day after surgery, the patient and their coach will participate in individual and group therapy sessions. The time spent in the hospital is usually 3 to 4 days. Before leaving the hospital, both patients and coach will receive written instructions about medications, follow-up care, exercise, and therapy programs.
Physical and/or occupational therapy continues for a time after being discharged from the hospital. Joint center staff will follow up with the patient to address any concerns and to find out how well they are progressing toward the goals that were set before discharge.
Joint center care is an emerging trend when considering joint replacement, and provides tools and resources for a better outcome, which means success for many patients. For more information on joint center care, contact Wooster Community Hospital at 330-202-5134.