TOMS RIVER, NJ, JANUARY 13, 2009 – In the past four years, the number of American adults who underwent knee replacement surgery more than doubled, and the number of people who received hip replacements increased three-fold. Today, more than 400,000 people receive total joint replacements of their hips or knees in this country alone, and those numbers are only expected to rise.
At Community Medical Center, similar growth in joint and spine surgery is being realized. In 2007, the hospital performed 610 hip and knee replacements and 154 spine surgeries. To support these surgical patients in a unique and unmatched environment, the hospital has opened the Joint Institute at Community Medical Center. Located on the third floor of the hospital, the Institute offers comprehensive care for patients undergoing hip and knee replacement, as well as spine surgery.
The first and only center of its kind in Ocean County, the Joint Institute at Community Medical Center allows patients to stay close to home, friends and family without the need to travel away from the area for this level of care.
At the Institute, patients will find an integrated team of highly-trained health care professionals including orthopedic surgeons skilled at minimally invasive joint replacement procedures; orthopedic nurses specialized in the care of joint replacement patients; physical and occupational therapists who treat patients while they are in the hospital and after discharge; and a home health staff dedicated to the Joint Replacement Home Recovery Program.
Joint replacement patients attend a pre-admission education session prior to surgery where they receive an overview of how to best prepare for surgery, what to expect during their hospital stay, and how to prepare to return home. Patients have the opportunity to bring their family or caregivers to the session so everyone involved can ask questions and receive helpful information.
Physical therapist Sharon Fields leads the team who rehabilitate patients both before and after surgery. “Our goal is to work with each patient utilizing best practice models to develop personalized therapy plans to get patients back to normal functioning as quickly as possible.”
Dr. Samuels said great thought and care has been put into developing a supportive and pleasant inpatient unit where patients and their families recover after surgery. “The entire unit is decorated in a nautical theme,” Dr. Samuels said. “Each patient is admitted to a private room – each named after a sailing vessel that has competed in the America’s Cup.”
Within one day of surgery, patients are up and out of bed, and begin to walk with the aid of nurses and therapists. Patients wear their own clothes, and dine with other joint patients in a common dining area. A loved one is encouraged to stay with the patient to “coach” them through the recovery process. The patient’s coach is encouraged to spend as much time as possible with the paitent to assist with physical therapy, offer moral support and urge them to participate in the recovery process to the fullest. This coach can then provide the needed support to the patient when they are discharged directly home.
Typically, joint replacement patients at Community will stay in the hospital for three days, and unlike many other programs, are discharged directly home, as opposed to a sub-acute or rehabilitation facility. Upon discharge, patients can enroll in Community’s Joint Replacement Home Recovery Program designed to provide patients one-on-one rehabilitation services in the comfort of their own home under the direct supervision of the surgeon.
Through the program, experienced therapists provide hands-on instruction for personal care, a written home exercise program in addition to gait training and stair management. Both physical and occupational therapy is included in the at-home program.
Werkman said, “We will personally tailor a physical and occupational therapy program to fit individual needs. An experienced physical therapist will visit within 24 hours of hospital discharge, and patients will receive one-on-one therapy five times per week for the first two weeks in the program. Sessions will decrease as the patient regains strength and independence.” Once no longer homebound, patients can transition to the hospital’s outpatient rehabilitation center located in the Nexus Building at 368 Lakehurst Road in Toms River.
“In addition, skilled nursing staff will assess post-operative recovery, certified home health aides reinforce the home exercise program, social workers are available to help with referral to community resources if needed, and nutritionists can assist with making the right diet choices.
For more information on joint replacement surgery, the Joint Institute at Community Medical Center or for referral to an orthopedic surgeon, call 1-888-724-7123.
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