While you are hospitalized for your total joint surgery various staff members will be working with you to assure that you receive the best care possible as well as the most effective transfer from hospital to home or other facility.

The hospitalization period no doubt will be a time of some level of anxiety for most patients. While this is common, hopefully by reviewing the information presented here as well as the other patient topics, your fears will be lessened and you will be better prepared to actively participate in all phases of your decision for total joint surgery.

  • INFORMATION TO BRING - As discussed in the pre-operative helpful hints, be sure to bring your lists of medications and questions with you. This will assist the staff throughout your hospital stay and will allow you to have all the topics important to you discussed with the appropriate personnel. Bring your insurance card, any insurance information helpful to your care, and any other papers you have received regarding your surgery.
  • EQUIPMENT - As mentioned in the pre-operative information, please bring any assistive devices you are currently using or plan to use. You should also bring with you shoes or slippers that have a non-skid sole, and are closed in the back. To review other items you may want to bring with you, please see [HELPFUL HINTS PRE-OPERATIVE PHASE].

    The residents assigned to your care typically make rounds twice a day, early in the morning before breakfast and again late in the afternoon. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your progress, please take advantage of these times to get answers. Your surgeon may make rounds daily also, but not necessarily at the same time as the residents. However, the residents and your surgeon communicate frequently to review your case and make any adjustments in your care that are necessary.

  2. CASE MANAGEMENT - Prior to your hospitalization you will be interviewed either in person or via the telephone by your case manager. Information regarding your plans for discharge will be obtained along with information regarding any special needs you may have. The case manager will review these plans again with you while you are hospitalized. Any adjustments to your discharge plans will be made based upon your status and progress made while in the hospital.
  3. PHYSICAL AND OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY - BE READY FOR A WORKOUT - Expect two sessions of physical therapy and one session of occupational therapy beginning on the first post-operative day and continuing daily while in the hospital. The therapists will work with you to help achieve your goals for discharge and recommend any changes that may be necessary in your discharge plan. A very helpful benefit to patients is to have whomever will be caring for you at home attend at least one session of physical/occupational therapy. By doing so, this person will be familiar with what the plan of care is for you, will know your restrictions, and also know what areas to assist you with after discharge. Please request this session with your therapist prior to discharge if it is not discussed.
  4. HOME CARE - Once you, your case manager, and your physician have agreed on the discharge plan that best fits your needs, the case manager will refer any home care needs to the hospital based home care department. The staff here will then review your discharge plan, check your insurance coverage, and make all necessary arrangements for any home care that is required. The home care nurse making these arrangements may meet with you to review the arrangements or may communicate this information through your case manager.
  5. DAY OF DISCHARGE - The day of discharge from the hospital can be a hectic one. By following these hints we hope to make the day an easier one.
  • Expect to attend at least the A.M. therapy session. This allows for another review session and also gives you a chance to ask any last minute questions.
  • You should receive a copy of your physical therapy exercises and any instructions pertinent to your rehabilitation after discharge
  • Be sure that you have all information regarding any home care arrangements made, including a telephone number of the agency assigned to your care in case of any problems.
  • Discharge instructions should be discussed and a copy given to you by the case manager and the nurse who is discharging you.
  • Be sure any dressing supplies or equipment ordered are given to you prior to discharge.
  • If you live out of state, have any pain medicine prescriptions filled here prior to leaving the hospital. This is usually necessary, since the pain medicine ordered is often a narcotic and most states will not honor a prescription written by an out of state physician.
  • If you are traveling any distance home, take your pain medicine before you leave the hospital to allow for a more comfortable trip home.
  • If you are being transferred to the rehab unit here or to another facility, be sure that you have the name and telephone number of your case manager or physician as a contact person for the rehab personnel to reach for any questions regarding your care.

A FINAL WORD - The information and tips offered here are suggestions and ideas gathered from our experience with patients. We realize that each person is unique and the suggestions offered here may need to be altered to fit the individual's needs. We do hope however, that this information can act as a guide for your care while hospitalized.