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Movement After Surgery

You will get up the day of surgery and the nurses or therapists will help to walk and sit up in a chair. Your first goal is a short walk of 15 feet. Each subsequent walk during your stay will get progressively longer. You can measure your distance in the halls of the orthopaedic unit by looking at the "walking men" plaques located on the walls every 12 feet. Initially all activity must be done with assistance.

Why is walking so important after surgery?

  • Decreased length of stay in the hospital.
  • More energy during the day and activity endurance.
  • Increased muscle tone and strength.
  • Decreased risk of blood clots, pneumonia, bladder dysfunction, constipation, and bed sores.
  • Increased appetite

Inpatient Post-Operative Care

Patients who have had a total joint replacement require further care in our inpatient orthopaedic unit.  This unit, Ortho/Neuro, specializes in joint replacement.  Your orthopaedic nurse will care for you from the time you recover in post anesthesia and will continue to manage your needs during the remainder of your hospital stay.

Your nurse will assess and monitor your progress throughout your stay. Since this is major surgery, the nurse will monitor your blood pressure, temperature, pulse and respirations routinely.  She will assess your pain levels and administer medications to keep your pain at a level that is comfortable for you.  The nurse will also address your physical needs and ensure you have adequate fluids and nutrition.  She will coordinate your care and communicate your progress with the surgeon.

When a hip or knee is replaced, the key to recovery is getting you active again.  Unless your surgeon places activity restrictions, you will get out of bed and begin to gradually walk the day of surgery.  The inpatient nursing team will teach you how to use your new joint safely and how to increase your activity so that you can easily transition home within a few days.

Fall Prevention at Home

Arrange your furniture so you have a clear pathway between rooms.
Securely fasten electrical cords around the perimeter of the room to reduce tripping.
Remove any throw rugs during your rehabilitation process.
Walk in only well-lit rooms, stairs and halls.
Always wear non-skid slippers or shoes.

Physical Therapy

Your physical therapy team will work to improve your function following the surgery.  Our emphasis is on mobility, safety, range of motion, and function. Individualized goals are set to meet your specific needs. Goals essential to your returning home, like climbing stairs and getting in and out of a car will be addressed as you are able.

Occupational Therapy

Your occupational therapy team will work to improve your  independence in activities of daily living. These are self care tasks such as bathing, dressing, toileting and shower transfers. Your team will work with you on ways to continue to complete these tasks following surgery. This may include adapting the task or the environment to achieve maximum independence. As you progress they will help determine what equipment you may need for home use.

Going Home

Discharge planning begins the day you are admitted and your progress is monitored daily by your physician, nursing staff, therapists and other members of the care team. The care manager is a member of the care team and helps to ensure your care progresses as planned. The care manager helps you and your family prepare for discharge.

Please share with the care team your home support system, whether it is family or a caretaker. Upon discharge it is important that you have someone that can help you until you are feeling stronger and can manage activities such as meals, bathing, and toileting independently. If you do not have a support system to help you at home initially, the care manager will provide you options on the next level of care that is available when you are discharged from the hospital.