Joint Replacement - FAQs
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Do you offer any preparation before surgery?
Yes, we offer a Joint Education class for patients/family having joint replacement that you will be invited to attend. The Hip/Knee class if offered weekly. During the class you will receive information about your surgery, learn the roles of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy, become more familiar with different measures for pain control used after the surgery, and be taught exercises to get you started with your Rehab routine. We also offer Pre-op testing which includes a review of your health history, possible X-rays if not already done at the surgeons office, possible blood specimen for transfusion if needed, and a session with the anesthesiologist.
Is the surgery painful?
Every effort is made to keep you as comfortable as possible after your joint surgery. Most of the time, patients have Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA) pumps for pain control after surgery for at least 48 hours. We also offer other pain medications to you as per the Doctor’s orders to relieve your discomfort as the PCA is weaned off. It is important for you to be comfortable in order to maximize your therapy regimen after surgery.
What should I bring with me to the hospital?
Some of the items we recommend include:
- List of medications, health history, and contact person(s)
- Comfortable pair, non-skid , closed toe shoes or sneakers
- We recommend that you DO NOT purchase new shoes to wear after the surgery. It is too difficult to try to "break in" a new pair of shoes immediately after your surgery.
- Loose fitting sweatpants and/or shorts. Preferably, pants that have elastic or drawstring waists. NO elastic at ankles
- Underwear, sleepwear (optional) • Personal care items
- Reading material (optional)
- Medical equipment that you plan on using such as walker, cane, and/or crutch. It will need to be inspected by the therapist for safety and proper fit prior to use.
Please note - depending on your insurance coverage; if you have received medical equipment in the last three - five (3-5) years, you may not be eligible for new equipment during this hospital stay. If you do not already have any medical equipment, we will order what you need prior to discharge for your use at home. Keep in mind also, that depending on your insurance, you may have a co-pay.
What should I NOT bring with me to the hospital?
Some things that we DO NOT recommend include:
- Valuables, large amounts of cash, or credit cards.
Does my insurance cover Acute care rehabilitation if I need to stay longer than planned?
We strongly recommend that you verify with your insurance company prior to your surgery if your health plan includes this benefit and whether it is Acute, Skilled, or Sub-acute services. At University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute, we offer Acute Care Rehabilitation. This means that you have to be capable to tolerate at least three(3) hours per day of Rehab services offered. Please be aware if Rehabilitation is covered, you have to "qualify" or "meet criteria" for rehabilitation services. It is NOT an "automatic" decision that you will be eligible for Rehabilitation after your surgery. You will be evaluated for meeting the criteria to be considered for rehab. If needed, based upon the results of your evaluation, and depending on your insurance coverage, you may need to be transferred to a Nursing Home for continued therapy. Otherwise, the plan is for you to go home three (3) days after surgery and continue with Home Care services.
Will I need to receive a blood transfusion?
Sometimes after this type of surgery, a blood transfusion may be needed. Your blood counts will be monitored daily while you are in the hospital. Depending on the result and how you are responding with your therapy, the doctor may advise that you receive a blood transfusion. Whenever possible, arrangements can be made to have your own blood donated a few weeks before your planned surgery. Therefore, if you need a transfusion, your own blood can be given back to you. If not, you will receive blood issued from the American Red Cross Blood Bank. Remember, that all blood is thoroughly inspected and deemed safe before it is released.
Will I have home-care services after discharge?
Depending on your recovery after surgery and insurance coverage, it will be determined what kind of home care services you may need. The physician, nurse therapist, Case Manager, and Home Care Coordinator will help with those decisions and arrangements.
Screening and assessment should occur 2-3 weeks before your surgery whenever possible. All Joint patients are seen by an anesthesiologist during that visit also. If needed, you may be seen by a Nurse Practitioner for any cardiac follow-ups and/or directed to see your primary care physician if not already done. The Joint class is also offered during this visit. You are encouraged to attend so that you can start your education and preparation for your upcoming surgery and recovery phase.
According to the pathway we expect you to be hospitalized for about 3 (three) days after surgery. You will be scheduled for Physical therapy twice a day and Occupational therapy once a day.. While you are hospitalized, your Joint Program team members participate in daily rounds to discuss your progress and goals. During rounds we also review your discharge plans and rehabilitation options. Based upon the team members discussion and your insurance, you will be guided through the process of preparing for care at home.
During your recovery from surgery, the Rehab staff will be ordering your assistive equipment if needed at home. Prior to discharge your family will also be included in your therapy plan and training session(s). The Case Manager will evaluate and plan for your after care as needed and ordered by your physician. This may include home Physical therapy and Home care nurses to draw blood and/or remove your staples from the surgery site. Remember to follow your discharge instructions and keep all doctor appointment(s) for follow-up.
How long will it be before I can return to work?
It is usually individualized about how long your recovery will last. On the average, most people may be able to return to work whether limited or full – time after about 6- 8 weeks. This time is dependent on your recovery, other health issues, job requirements, surgeon decision, and insurance regulations.
How soon before I can drive?
This is also usually determined by your recovery, surgeon decision, and other health conditions. On the average, it may be 4-6 weeks before you may be able to drive after your surgery.
Will I need any special medication after the surgery?
Yes, after the surgery you will be taking some form of a blood thinner or anticoagulant. This will help to prevent blood clots from forming, which is a possible complication after hip or knee replacement surgery. You may be required to take this medication for at least 4 weeks after your surgery. Your surgeon and /or medical physician will determine how long you will need to continue this medication. The medication is usually given as a pill form or an injection. Before you leave the hospital, you and your family will be given instructions about this medication and possibly learn how to administer the injection if that is the type ordered by the physician.
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