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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RVNAhealth’s Gigi Weiss Earns Innovation Award

Gigi Weiss (third from left) with members of the RVNAhealth Rehabilitation team.

At RVNAhealth, we all know that Gigi Weiss, MSPT, CDP, CKTP is incredible. That opinion was seconded today when Gigi, RVNAhealth’s director of rehabilitation services, was selected for the Innovation Award by the Connecticut Association for Healthcare at Home.

The CAHCH Innovation Award is given each year to an association member agency or individual who embraces change and consistently strives to use new methods and technologies to optimize home health, hospice or personal care delivery.

During her decade-long tenure at RVNAhealth, Gigi has had a resounding theme: forward progress, forward motion. Her many accomplishments have included introducing innovative, proven programs and capabilities, such as LSVT Big and Loud® (for patients with Parkinson’s), Otago (a fall prevention program) and Vestibular Therapy (to address inner ear/balance issues).

Gigi has also embraced technology to augment traditional interventions, incorporating digital apps and technologies into treatment plans when appropriate. Examples include Constant Therapy and Apraxia Therapy, for improving skills such as speech, memory and attention. These exciting therapies allow treatment to continue even after their reimbursed care ends.

Growing the Facility, Staff and Partnerships

Building and growing have also been constant themes under Gigi’s leadership. Thanks to her vision, the 2,100 square foot RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness Center was created at RVNAhealth’s 27 Governor Street headquarters. The team that she leads has also grown, from 6 therapists to 32 (including physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists). She has also forged preferred partnerships with local surgical centers, meaning that more and more patients have access to excellent pre- and post-surgical care.

Throughout her tenure, Gigi has been committed to the patients that RVNAhealth Rehabilitation Services serves and the staff whom she leads.

“Gigi has worked tirelessly to help patients get the rehabilitation care that they need, both in their homes and onsite at the RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness Center,” says Theresa Santoro, MSN, RN, RVNAhealth President & CEO. “She was instrumental in spearheading efforts to help Medicare patients continue to receive therapy in their homes when logistical issues prevented them from pursuing outpatient care.”

Crystal Madyda, PT, Rehabilitation Team Lead, notes that Gigi’s compassionate, friendly nature and dedication to helping her staff develop has earned their loyalty. “I have been with RVNAhealth for nearly six years, and I feel fortunate to know her and work with her,” she says. “She’s a really strong, really caring, and really inspiring leader.”

Gigi received her prestigious award at the Hartford Marriott Downtown, as part of the Connecticut Association for Healthcare at Home Annual Conference.