Preparing for Joint Replacement Surgery

Let’s talk about that dreaded moment … when knee pain prevents you from getting into the car. Or your hips are so sore that putting on socks seems impossible.

If this sounds familiar, you’re in good company. By 2030, about 11 million Americans will have either a hip or knee replacement — making joint replacements one of our most common elective surgical procedures.

Being prepared in advance, and receiving the right care immediately following, is key to an excellent recovery, according to Crystal Madyda, PT, RVNAhealth Rehabilitation Services Team Lead.

“Patients used to spend days in the hospital, and then weeks in a short-term rehab facility,” Madyda says. “Now, most spend a maximum of two days in the hospital, followed by in-home therapy and then outpatient care. People tend to do better at home; hospitalization increases their risk of infection.”

Home Safety and Post-Surgery Therapy

RVNAhealth’s Motion Matters programs — designed for those getting joint replacements or other significant surgeries — include a home safety evaluation to ensure that your home is properly equipped for potential physical limitations and begin aftercare promptly after surgery (often within 24 hours of returning home).

Physicians rely on the home safety recommendations to determine if it’s safe for a patient to return home post-surgery, says Gigi Weiss, MSPT, director of RVNAhealth Rehabilitation Services.

Recommendations might include installing a shower chair, grab bar or elevated toilet seat in the bathroom. The therapist making the assessment will also note if a home has lots of stairs and the quality of handrails.

“We also look at factors including the height of your bed. Is it on the ground level. Do you have someone to help you?” she says.

“We want to keep you safe so that upon arrival home, recovery and recuperation can begin in earnest,” Weiss explains. “Within two weeks, eighty percent of our in-home therapy patients have recovered enough to begin outpatient therapy.”

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