When noninvasive treatments no longer relieve chronic hip or knee pain, patients are referred by their doctor for total joint replacement. While the results can be life-changing for people living with daily pain, it is a serious procedure that carries risks.
In 1989, Sharp Grossmont Hospital launched the Joint Endeavor program with the mission of enhancing the quality of life for orthopedic patients and their families. The joint replacement patients who participated in the program were better prepared and had overall higher satisfaction after surgery. The program was such a success that it was implemented across all Sharp hospitals in 1994.
“Education is the cornerstone of the Joint Endeavor program,” explains Astrid LeTouzic, orthopedic program manager at Sharp Grossmont Hospital.
Every patient receiving a total hip or knee joint replacement is required to participate in a special class led by the orthopedic program manager along with a physical therapist, dietitian and pharmacist. This helps ensure the best possible recovery and outcome for their joint replacement surgery.
“This one-on-one interaction provides a unique opportunity to establish a relationship with our patients prior to surgery to develop and coordinate their care,” says LeTouzic.
The two-hour class covers five things patients who are considering hip or knee replacement need to know:
- How to reduce the risk of surgical site infection
Patients partner with their care staff to prevent surgical site infection. Each patient receives antimicrobial soap to use the night before and day of surgery to disinfect the skin. Patients are also encouraged to have clean linens, blankets, towels and sleepwear ready for when they return home.
- Why early physical therapy is critical to the success of a new joint
Patients begin physical therapy on the day of surgery and work with a physical therapist twice a day to reach their mobility goals. During the joint replacement class, patients learn how to use a two-wheel walker so they can practice at home before surgery.
- How food plays a role in healing
Patients meet with a dietitian who educates them on the importance of a post-surgical diet rich in protein, iron and calcium. This diet helps the body heal and fight infection following surgery.
- How to support a healing environment at home
All participants in the Joint Endeavor program receive a booklet with a detailed checklist of how to prepare the home for post-surgery needs, including how to prevent accidents in the bathroom and the kitchen.
- Why it’s important to have a care partner
A care partner is a family member or close friend chosen by the patent to be their support system and an active member of their health care team. Care partners are encouraged to attend the class with the patient and participate in every aspect of the patients’ care.
Register for an upcoming orthopedic pain relief seminar.