We're here to take care of you. As soon as patients are admitted to the unit after surgery, we begin the work of educating them and their family members, preparing them to continue their recovery at home. What we offer patients goes far beyond the technical expertise of our team. Our patients are at the center of all we do. We are not simply treating an orthopedic condition; we are caring for you.

We believe the more you know, the better you'll do. That's why each of us is happy to answer any question you or your family want to ask. We offer several classes that help you understand the surgery and recovery process associated with joint replacement and other types of orthopedic treatment. With more information, it's easier for you to take an active role in your recovery.

How long do I stay in the hospital?

The length of stay is highly dependent upon preoperative conditioning, age, and other medical problems that may hinder your ability to rehab. It is possible that some patients will be able to be discharged as soon as 24 hours after surgery.

UM SJMC's average length of stay is much lower than the national average.

What should I bring to the hospital with me?

You really don't need anything here in the hospital. Clothes worn to the hospital can be worn home. (No sandals or flip-flops.) Wear good rubber-soled shoes. Bring a list of medications/vaccines (as found in your packet). Please, leave all valuables at home!!

When should I arrive?

Arrive two hours prior to your scheduled procedure. Your surgeon will advise you as to arrival time. If you are delayed for any reason on the day of surgery, please contact us at 410-337-1058.

Where should I go when reporting for surgery?

Enter through the Main Entrance and report to the Information Desk. The hospital front doors open at 5:30 a.m. and wheelchairs are available at the entrance.

A staff member from the Information Desk will escort you to Central Registration and a registration representative will check you in. 

Please view our visitor policy before arriving. 

Where can my family wait during my surgery?

The family-friendly surgical services waiting area, close to the main lobby, features comfortable couches and chairs, televisions, and a child play area.

Families can follow their loved ones progress from prep to surgery to recovery thanks to a tracking bracelet worn by each patient. In the waiting area, a big screen displays real-time reports on each patient's progress, using a coded number for privacy. The patient's bracelet communicates to a tracking device in the ceiling, relaying information to the board as each patient goes through Surgical Prep, to the OR, the recovery room and, for inpatients, to their rooms.

A patient family liaison keeps families personally informed about the patient's status.

How long is the surgery?

The surgery itself will take 45 minutes to 1 ½ hours to complete.

Where do I go after surgery?

After the surgery, you will be transported by your bed into the PACU (Post Anesthesia Care Unit) or recovery room. The time you spend here varies from patient to patient: average time is about 1 to 3 hours. Here the nurses will monitor your vital signs, your airway, your circulation and the various pieces of equipment. Please allow the hospital staff to care for the patients in the PACU. They will update the families as frequently as possible.

What will my room be like?

Once you have been "discharged" from the PACU, you will be transported to the 6th floor (the orthopaedic unit) by your bed into your hospital room.

A floor nurse and/or tech will greet you and get you settled and acquainted to the unit. Your family/significant others are welcome to join you. On the nursing unit, your vital signs will be taken every 4 hours to ensure your safety. You will be given instructions on how to order lunch/dinner and how to use your call light and phone. Most surgeons allow you to get out of bed to the chair the first evening after surgery for about an hour.

What happens in the initial post-operative period?

Your work toward recovery begins the first day after surgery. It is a busy day, but members of your health care team will work with you toward the goal of walking comfortably again.

Two sessions of physical/occupational therapy will be scheduled for each day you are still a patient (one in the morning, one in the afternoon). A registered licensed Physical Therapist or Occupational Therapist will see you first and perform your initial evaluation of what you have been doing, what your home layout is and what your goals are once rehab is completed. Individual instruction takes place at each subsequent session.

Your case manager will have touched base with you and your therapist every day to know your progression. They will assist you in a discharge plan that fits your needs.

What should I do while planning for discharge?

You can expect to be discharged on the second or third day, after surgery. You should begin planning for your discharge from the hospital before your surgery. You will be assessed for your post-discharge needs by a staff member of the ICM (Integrated Care Management) team, either a social worker or an RN case manager who will work with you and your family to make arrangements for you when you leave the hospital. There are basically two options for you to consider and plan for your discharge from the hospital.

Discharge to Home

If you go directly home from the hospital, any needed equipment and in home physical therapy will be arranged for you by the staff of the Integrated Care Management Department (ICM) of UM SJMC or your discharge planner.

Discharge to Inpatient Rehab

If you go to an inpatient rehabilitation facility, those arrangements are made by the staff of the ICM Department. Factors such as your progress in physical therapy, insurance benefit coverage and bed availability determine which facility you are eligible to go to.