Preparing for Your Joint Surgery and Making a Successful Recovery

Marilyn Kerr, R.N., Director of Nursing, Saunders House, says, “Today, joint surgery is a very common and increasingly popular procedure, especially among mature adults who seek to maintain active lives despite the unavoidable effects of time and wear and tear on the body. Fortunately, with appropriate pre-surgery planning and skilled post-procedure rehabilitation, people achieve major improvements in their comfort, function and lifestyle.”

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), joint replacement can help relieve pain and enable you to live a fuller, more active life. If you and your orthopaedic surgeon have decided that you are a good candidate for joint replacement, you are in good company: In 2011, almost one million hip and knee replacement surgeries were performed in the United States, making it one of the most common orthopaedic procedures performed today. 

Medical experts recommend that before your joint surgery, it is important to take some time to prepare. Planning ahead for your surgery, recovery and rehabilitation will help to ensure the most successful outcome.

Take Time to Understand Your Procedure

Be sure to talk to your doctor so you know what to expect before, during, and after surgery. For example, you might want to ask:

  • What is the process for being admitted to the hospital?
  • What type of anesthesia will I receive?
  • What type of implant or prosthesis will be used?
  • How long will I stay in the hospital?
  • How long will my recovery take?
  • How will my pain be managed after surgery?
  • What will my rehabilitation program entail?

You should always feel free to speak up if you do not understand something about your treatment. The AAOS guide, Total Joint Replacement: Questions Patients Should Ask Their Surgeon can help guide you in your discussions with your doctor.

Assemble Your Personal and Medical Information Ahead of Time

Use the time before your surgery to develop a list of all the important information you will need. For example, you will be asked for a variety of items, such as your:

  • Insurance coverage
  • Medical history
  • Current medical conditions and medications
  • Allergies, including food allergies
  • Dietary restrictions
  • Legal arrangements, such as your Advanced Medical Directives and Power of Attorney
  • Names, addresses and phone numbers for all the doctors you currently see 
  • The name and phone number of the family member or friend who will accompany you for your surgery

This information is necessary to meet quality assurance and medical insurance guidelines. Therefore, preparing this information ahead of time will help speed the process and ensure that your healthcare team will have all the critical details they need for a successful surgery. 

Arrive in the Best Possible Shape for Your Surgery 

The AAOS also offers excellent advice regarding your physical condition prior to surgery. Getting in the best physical shape possible before surgery can lessen the chance for complications and shorten your recovery time. Therefore:

  • If you smoke, cut down or quit. Smoking affects blood circulation, delays healing and slows recovery.
  • Eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet. If you are overweight, there will be more stress placed on your new joint. In some cases, your doctor may recommend a weight loss program before surgery.
  • If you drink, do not consume any alcohol for at least 48 hours before surgery.
  • If you use any other types of controlled substances, tell your doctor. Certain drugs can cause complications and affect your surgery.
  • Ask your doctor about exercises you can do before surgery. If you are having a hip or knee replacement, strengthening your upper body will make it easier to use crutches or a walker after surgery.

Expert Short-Term Rehabilitation Gets You Home Quickly and Safely

These days, many people are discharged from the hospital before they’re ready and able to go home. They need additional time, support and care to fully recuperate from a surgery, accident or illness and return home safely.

Ms. Kerr adds, “Joint surgery, especially joint replacement, is major surgery and additional time, care and support are needed to allow for a successful recovery and a safe return to your normal activities. Today, leading short-term rehabilitation services provide highly specialized, best-practice programs that help you to achieve a full recovery and return you to your home as quickly and safely as possible.”

“Short-term rehabilitation centers such as Saunders House, provide an ideal solution. Saunders House offers the RenewAll Short-Term & Medically Complex Care program that has been developed specifically to support successful recoveries and allow for safe returns to home.”

The RenewAll program balances medical management and physical rehabilitation to treat a variety of conditions and needs, such as joint replacement and other medical conditions.

A Specialized Team of Professionals Provides Your Care

Saunders House uses an interdisciplinary team approach to provide your care after surgery – an approach that supports the best possible quality and results. This dedicated, professional team includes:

  • A Medical Director specializing in geriatric medicine
  • A board-certified physician specializing in physical and medical rehabilitation
  • Registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and certified nursing assistants
  • Certified physical, occupational and speech therapists
  • Therapeutic Recreation specialists
  • Dietary and nutrition specialists
  • Discharge planners and social workers

Personalized Care Plans Fit Your Unique Needs

Leading providers such as Saunders House recognize that successful post-surgical rehabilitation is not a “one size fits all” situation. To ensure a smooth and safe transition to home, our interdisciplinary care team develops personalized, comprehensive recovery plans that meet each individual’s special circumstances and needs. These customized plans are then provided on a one-on-one basis, focusing on measurably improved outcomes for each person with a goal of achieving the highest level of functional independence possible. 

Discover our Healthy Tradition of Care and Wellness

Located adjacent to Lankenau Hospital, Saunders House – part of Main Line Senior Care Alliance – has a celebrated tradition of providing exceptional care and services to seniors and their families. It’s a tradition we’re proud to continue.

Today, Saunders House offers a range of services including short-term rehabilitation therapytraditional nursing care, restorative carememory carerespite care and specialized care for individuals with visual impairments – all in a setting that is warm, welcoming and nurturing.

For more information on Saunders House, our Short-Term Rehabilitation program and other professional services, please call us today at (610) 658-5100. You can also contact us online.

Disclaimer: This information should not be construed as Saunders House or Main Line Senior Care Alliance offering legal advice. For legal advice, please consult your attorney.


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