Having hip or knee replacement surgery may not rank up there with a resort vacation, but it shouldn’t be a miserable experience, either. After all, it’s elective surgery.
To make it more pleasant, Beaufort Memorial opened the Joint Replacement Center, offering state-of-the-art orthopaedic care with amenities more like those you’d find in a hotel than a hospital.
Patients “check in” to their rooms, dress in their own clothing, participate in group therapy and enjoy activities like horseshoes, golf and cornhole. They also receive an assortment of goodies throughout their stay.
Using a wellness model encompassing body, mind and spirit, BMH revamped recovery to encourage quicker healing and shorter hospital stays. Most knee replacement patients will spend just two days in the hospital; three days for those undergoing hip replacement.
BMH made behind-the-scene changes to standardize surgical procedures, increasing patient safety and reducing time in the OR. “We streamlined every segment of the process with the goal of achieving the best possible outcome,” says Beaufort Memorial orthopaedic surgeon Edward Blocker, MD. “With everyone following set guidelines, there’s greater efficiency and less room for error.”
From the time they arrive at the hospital to their discharge, patients are attended to by a dedicated team of highly trained professionals who specialize in orthopaedic care. Equally important, they have a thorough knowledge of the treatment plan to ensure they are prepared for their convalescence.
As soon as the date is set for their surgery, patients are given a comprehensive education notebook with detailed information on every step of the joint replacement process, from pre-op testing to outpatient rehabilitation. They also attend a total joint education class taught by the center’s orthopaedic care coordinator Andrea Sadler. A physical therapist with more than 20 years’ experience, Sadler serves as the patients’ personal navigator, answering questions and coordinating care with the orthopaedic team before, during and after their surgery.
A section of the hospital’s fourth floor has been converted into the Joint Replacement Center, separate from the rest of the floor. On the day of surgery, patients go directly to the center, where they are greeted by a team member. “Instead of the usual hospital registration, we offer in-room check-in,” Sadler says. “Patients have a chance to put away their belongings and settle in before the nurses come in to prep them for surgery.”
The first physical therapy session takes place in the patient’s room the afternoon of surgery. “One of the things that has been shown to improve outcomes is to get patients up and moving as soon as possible,” Sadler says. “Mobilizing them helps prevent blood clots, pneumonia and other complications.” Patients are encouraged to get dressed, walk around the center and sit in their chairs rather than lie in their hospital bed. The only time they wear a hospital gown is during surgery.
On post-op day one, they begin group physical and occupational therapy in the center’s gym. Working together creates camaraderie and a friendly spirit of competitiveness that encourages patients to push a little harder. As their mobility improves, they walk increasingly longer distances to stations set up around the unit.
In keeping with Beaufort’s coastal setting, the stations have a Lowcountry theme. “There are activities at each station designed to keep them active and having fun,” Sadler says. “One day they may walk to Lady’s Island and putt a golf ball. The next day, they may throw a shrimp net at the St. Helena station.”
Nationally recognized for its orthopaedic services, BMH made the commitment to improve and expand its program to stay at the forefront of care. “We evaluated everything we do, from the medications we prescribe after surgery to our physical therapy program,” says BMH orthopaedic surgeon Kevin Jones, MD. “We used the best practices of top hospitals and evidence-based medicine to make our program even better.”
There’s no need to hobble around in pain. The Beaufort Memorial Joint Replacement Center can get you back to your old self and loving life. To learn more about the program, call 843-522-7435.