Are you in the planning phases of an upcoming joint replacement surgery? If so, you should know that putting some serious thought into recovery planning is just as important to your success as solid surgical planning. It's important to realize that your procedure is just the first step of the joint replacement process. Recovery and rehabilitation comes afterwards, and it will take some time for your life to get back to normal.
In the meantime, you will need some level of personal and medical care, rehabilitative therapy and a safe environment as you work to get back on your feet and back to your life. What that means is that your accommodations after discharge from the hospital is one of the most important aspects of recovery planning. Your basic options are to be discharged to your home, using outpatient services for your medical, personal care and rehabilitative therapy needs, or to an inpatient short-term rehabilitation program, which provides these services in-house. Here, we'll outline 3 critical considerations that should be addressed as you weigh those options:
Choosing to go directly home after joint replacement surgery leaves the responsibility for preparing a safe, comfortable recovery environment on your shoulders. Included among the many details you will have to manage to create that environment is installing necessary adaptive equipment in your home, ensuring your home environment will be safe and accessible with a walker or crutches, managing medications and wound care, managing medical and rehabilitation therapy appointments, and securing transportation to those appointments. You will also need some help with personal care as you begin your recovery – a friend, family member or hired companion who can stay with you for at least the first few days. Your home will need to be stocked with nutritious, easy-to-prepare foods for your recovery, and you may need help managing many routine household tasks for several weeks.
Will you be able to pull together the help and resources you need to manage all of these recovery details on your own in the aftermath of a serious surgery? If you have doubts, an inpatient short-term rehabilitation program may be your best bet.
Do you have underlying health issues – such as diabetes, hypertension or heart disease, for instance? If so, your medical needs will likely be a bit more complex than those of a patient going into joint replacement surgery in great overall health, and your risk of complications may be higher. Beginning your journey to recovery and rehabilitation in an inpatient short-term rehabilitation program can help ensure that those needs are met, providing you with comprehensive medical monitoring and care around the clock to reduce your risk of recovery setbacks.
Many patients have a need to minimize the time it takes to recover and rehabilitate after joint replacement surgery due to work or family obligations. If you are one of them, you should know that inpatient short-term rehabilitation can help speed your recovery as compared to using outpatient services.
While outpatient rehab usually provides just an hour or two of therapy two or three days per week, in an inpatient program, you'll receive intensive, comprehensive rehabilitation treatment. Care is delivered by a physician-led team of rehabilitation specialists and will provide you with a minimum of three hours of rehabilitative therapy daily and access to rehab equipment and facilities between therapy sessions. Wound care, medical monitoring, medications, meal prep and other recovery management details will be handled by staff, leaving you free to focus on your recovery. That level of care leads to faster and better recoveries after joint replacement surgery.