RWJ Somerset Joint Surgery
Suffering from rheumatoid arthritis in her hips, Linda Kelly spent years
walking in pain, crawling up and down stairs and relying on a wheelchair,
walker or cane to get around.
But after double hip replacement surgery at Robert Wood Johnson University
Hospital Somerset in April 2015, the Jersey City woman is now walking
pain-free and is able to enjoy walks in the park and attend outdoor craft
fairs and festivals for the first time in years.
“It’s because of Robert Wood Johnson that I have a quality
of life,” she says.
Ms. Kelly chose to come to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset
for her surgery after hearing about its Joint Surgery Center from her
sister who lives in Whitehouse Station.
The program has received the Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval™
for total knee and total hip replacement surgery. Its comprehensive approach
to care includes a nurse who serves as a joint care coordinator, pre-surgery
education and physical and occupational therapy services that begin the
day of your surgery. Most patients are able to go directly home from the
hospital after a two-day stay.
“Every aspect of my quick recovery depended on everyone working as
a team to meet my needs,” Ms. Kelly says.
From the registrar and anesthesiologist to the nurses, phlebotomist and
housekeeper, everyone was compassionate and caring, she says.
“They don’t treat you like a patient. You’re a person
to them,” she says. “They don’t treat you like a number.”
She was especially touched by the little things such as the flower that
was put on her breakfast tray each morning and the ability to wear her
own clothes – not a hospital gown- while she recovered. As she walked
the halls each day as part of her therapy, staff smiled and cheered her
on. Kyala Pascual, RN, joint care coordinator, came to check on her every
morning to see how she was doing.
“We are very patient-centered,” Pascual says. “We adjust
everything to meet the patient’s needs and abilities. We know that
no two patients are exactly alike.”
While most patients have only one joint replaced at a time, Ms. Kelly was
an ideal candidate for bilateral hip replacement, says her orthopedic
surgeon Thomas Nordstrom, MD.
“Both of her hips were in terrible shape,” Dr. Nordstrom says.
“If we fixed one, but she couldn’t walk on the other, it would
still have been tough for her to get around. I felt she would do better
and have a faster recovery doing both hips the same day rather than do
one and wait three months to do the other.”
Patients undergoing bilateral joint surgery face risks associated with
increased blood loss and longer time under anesthesia. They are also at
increased risk for infections and blood clots.
However, because Ms. Kelly was also only 58, thin and in good health with
no other chronic health issues, Dr. Nordstrom felt the benefits outweighed
the risks of operating on both hips at once.
“This has opened up a new chapter for me,” Ms. Kelly says.
“My hips are wonderful. I am able to go down stairs without even
thinking about it and I am no longer dependent on others for help.”
Months after her surgery, she still couldn’t stop talking about her
gratitude to the team at the Joint Surgery Center at Robert Wood Johnson
University Hospital Somerset.
“I am so thankful to everyone. I will be forever grateful.”