More older adults with joint replacements recover at home, not in rehab facilities

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.

The newest data comes from a March study in JAMA Internal Medicine of 17 million Medicare hospitalizations from 2010 to 2016. All the patients were older adults and went home or to a skilled-nursing facility after a medical procedure or a serious illness. Knee and hip replacements were the most common reason for these hospitalizations.

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

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About Peter Coffaro 703 Articles
A growth-driven and strategic executive, Peter Coffaro commands more than 20 years of progressive management success within the orthopedic industry. Recognized by MedReps.com as one of the top medical sales influencers in the industry; he has 10 years of combined sales management experience and has held positions as a Director, General Manager and Distributor. Peter has worked for some of the top orthopedic companies in the world - Zimmer, DePuy and Stryker. He is also the founder of OrthoFeed: a popular blog that covers orthopedic news and emerging medical technologies. Peter is a three-time Hall of Fame award winner at Johnson and Johnson and has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, digital marketing and professional education. Peter holds a B.S. degree in Biology from Northern Illinois University.

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