Older adults and their families often wonder: Where’s the best place to recover after a hip or knee replacement—at home or in a rehabilitation facility?
Increasingly, the answer appears to be home if the procedure is elective, friends and family are available to help, and the patient doesn’t have serious conditions that could lead to complications.
This trend is likely to accelerate as evidence mounts that recuperating at home is a safe alternative and as hospitals alter medical practices in response to changing Medicare policies.
People who were sent home with home health care services demonstrated the same level of functional improvement as those who went to a SNF, the study found. Assessments examined their ability to walk and get up and down stairs, among other activities. And they were no more likely to die 30 days after surgery (a very small percentage in each group). Overall, costs were significantly lower for patients who went home, while hospital readmissions were slightly higher—a possible signal that home health care services needed strengthening or that family caregivers needed better education and training.
“What this study tells us is it’s certainly safe to send people home under many circumstances,” said Dr. Vincent Mor, a professor of health services, policy and practice at Brown University’s School of Public Health who wrote an editorial accompanying the study.
By Judith Graham | Modern Healthcare
Image Credit: New York Times