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Published on January 17, 2019

man getting physical therapy in home

How Home Health Can Help After Joint-Replacement Surgery

By building a bridge between the hospital and full independence, home health care teams give people who recently had a knee or hip replacement the support they need during sometimes challenging transitions.

If you or a loved one is that patient making the transition from surgery to recovery, you are likely to wonder how home health can help. Here’s what you can expect.

You’ll see a variety of experts. From safety in the home to regaining strength and balance, patients benefit when they work with more than one expert. Physical and occupational therapists, as well as registered nurses and social workers each provide the care you may need.

“Physical therapists will focus you on gaining strength and mobility, while nurses can make sure your wounds heal properly,” said Kim Kram, PT, a staff physical therapist with Avera@Home. “Occupational therapists will guide you as you recover activities of daily life. A therapist can help you modify your home to ensure safety. They can also evaluate the environment if you’re using a device – rugs or obstacles may need to go. We’re just a bridge between your hospital stay and full mobility.”

You’ll help draw up your plan, and revise it. “Patients receive an initial assessment at home, and you’ll work with us and your provider, as well as family members, so we’re all on the same page and meeting those goals you have, safely and within the limits of your strength and pain,” said Kram. “We value the personal input of the patient as we work together to set goals, recognize obstacles and consider limits. We want you to reach independence safely. Along the way, if you need us to add to the team, or if you no longer need one of us, we’ll make those changes. You’re at the center of the decisions.”

Your caretakers will gel with your family caretakers. “Your post-surgery recovery is all about education – for you, for your family and for us, too, as we get to know you. We want family caregivers to play their vital roles, and we want them to ask if they have questions,” she said. “They know you best, and so we’ll all work together. If you need a social worker to help you find resources, or to consider a more suitable location for your recovery, we’ll all work together on that, too. Some homes may need railing, grab bars or a shower chair. You’ll make the decisions, and we’ll help make them happen.”

You’ll have around-the-clock support. You’re in your home because it’s where you’re most comfortable. You don’t need someone in your house or apartment all day, every day, but when if you need help, it’ll be there. “Your therapy rehab will be based on individual needs, and the number of visits may vary week to week, with both physical and occupational therapists,” Kram said. “You can share updates with us during these regular visits, so if you have a setback, we can help. If you need help between therapist visits, nursing care is available via telephone 24/7. While you’re recovering in your home from joint surgery, you’re not alone.”

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