Should You Go Home After a Hip or Knee Replacement?

When Karen Lootens Chantry had her arthritic right hip replaced five years ago, at 67, she heeded her surgeon’s advice to recuperate at a well-regarded rehabilitation center. But rehab didn’t go so smoothly, recalls the clinical psychologist, who is now 72 and still practicing.

“They encouraged me to be too gung-ho” about rehab exercises, leaving Chantry’s leg and hip painfully bruised, she says. After her surgery was revised in a second operation, she opted to recover at her home in Winthrop Harbor, Ill., north of Chicago, with the help of a visiting nurse, a physical therapist and her husband, John. Being home, surrounded by her own things and following her own schedule, “made a huge difference,” Chantry says.

So when she needed a knee replacement two years later, she knew exactly what she wanted to do: head straight home for two weeks of rehab before six weeks of outpatient therapy. The combination proved just right, she says. “I recuperated very, very quickly,” recalls Chantry.

Rethinking Rehab After Knee or Hip Replacement Surgery

More than a million Americans will undergo knee or hip replacements this year, according to the National Institutes of Health. Most of them will be 45 or older and suffering painful joint damage from osteoarthritis. In the past, many were routinely directed to inpatient facilities to rebuild their strength and reduce pain after the operation — especially if they were of Medicare age and lived alone.

But a wave of influential studies over the last five years has demonstrated that home rehab can be just as effective, less costly and even less risky for many patients. Now, with Medicare’s recent emphasis on “value-based care,” the tide has shifted and most knee or hip replacement patients are homeward bound.

“Our consensus is to encourage people to go home,” says Dr. Douglas Padgett, chief of the Adult Reconstruction and Joint Replacement Service at New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS). He estimates that 95 percent of his patients return home in a day or two.

By Lynn Langway | next avenue

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

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About Peter Coffaro 1134 Articles

A growth-driven and strategic executive, Peter Coffaro commands more than 20 years of progressive management success within the medical device industry. As a District Sales Manager for Stryker Orthopaedics, Peter was responsible for managing and directing a regional sales force to achieve sales and profit goals within the Rocky Mountain region. Previously, he was the Director of Sales & Marketing for Amp Orthopedics. In this role, Peter was responsible for planning, developing, and leading all sales and marketing initiatives. Peter is a former orthopedic distributor in the Pacific Northwest. He has also worked with DePuy Orthopaedics as well as Zimmer, and held positions in sales, sales training, and sales management. Peter has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, negotiating and P&L management. Peter holds a B.S. degree in Biology from Northern Illinois University.

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