Homeward Bound After Joint Replacemnt Surgery

September 18, 2012

The hospital’s Inpatient Orthopedic Rehabilitation Service recently started a new therapy program to to ease the transition home for patients who are about to be discharged. The initiative is entitled the Patient Discharge Group and it is run jointly by the service’s physical and occupational therapists.

Patients on the Orthopedic Rehabilitation Service come to HHH shortly after total joint replacement surgery, usually a knee or hip. Typically, these patients have a short length of stay on the inpatient service. The new Group was developed in response to our patients’ concerns that they don’t always feel ready to go home when it is determined they are ready to be discharged.

Patients who are preparing to go home the following day participate in the Group. Therapists have each patient independently demonstrate all of the functional mobility skills needed to return home safely, including:

  • walking independently with an assistive device
  • transferring in and out of a car
  • going up and down a full flight of stairs
  • performing skills necessary to safely complete home and food management tasks.

A key component of this exercise is to ensure that the patient can complete these tasks while simultaneously following the post surgical precautions outlined by their surgeon.

The most important goal of the Group is to reassure patients that they are safely able to perform all of these activities. By reviewing everything and engaging the patient in demonstrating these key skills, patients earn the extra confidence they need to return home comfortably and confidently.

Since the program was initiated, the feedback from patients has been very positive. Many have said that it reinforces their feeling of preparedness for returning home. Ultimately, being able to safely discharge the patient home, where they can continue to recover and return to their everyday life, is the goal of inpatient rehabilitation.

-Terry Berg, OTR/L

Program Manager, Orthopedic Rehabilitation Serivce