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Discharge Planning Begins Early

The few days that you will spend in the hospital after surgery are just the beginning of your recovery. The majority of your work to return to normal function will happen over several months either at home, in a clinic or in sub-acute rehab. In order to make sure the journey from deciding to have surgery to full recovery is as smooth as possible, it is helpful to think about discharge plans even before the surgery happens. Along the way, several different staff members will be helping you make these decisions.

Before Surgery

There are several preparations you can make before you have surgery, to ensure that you are well informed and have a plan for the time when you get discharged from the hospital after surgery.

  • Discuss with your surgeon whether he or she recommends a sub-acute rehab stay after surgery, based on your general physical function and the availability of help at home.
  • Contact your insurance company to learn what benefits you have for after care, including acute rehab, sub-acute rehab, outpatient rehab and home health rehab.
  • Participate in the free pre-operative education class offered at the hospital, called Total Joint Replacement Education Program (TJREP). During this class, a discharge planner will be present to explain what options are typical after surgery. He or she will help you to think about the factors that influence what level of assistance you will need. These factors may include how much help you will have at home from family and friends, the lay-out of your house such as location of bedroom and bathroom, whether you have stairs to get into the house, etc. – and your general physical abilities aside from the joint that is being replaced.
  • Choose a coach to help you. This may be a family member of friend who will agree to attend the education class and attend the therapy sessions in the hospital, in order to learn how to assist you with your home exercises and help you safely move around once you get home.
  • You may make your outpatient rehab appointment for after discharge from the hospital even before you have surgery. If you would like to do so, please call 562-4616.
  • If you have questions about discharge planning, you may call 562-7395.
  • If you have questions about the TJREP class or rehab in the hospital, you may call 562-7599.
  • If you have questions about outpatient rehab, you may call 562-4616.
  • If you have questions about the TCU unit, you may call 562-7321.

Typical Discharge Options

  1. Going home from the hospital and attending outpatient rehab in a clinic. This option is the preferred option, if you are able to get in and out of your house safely and you have someone that can drive you to rehab. 
  2. Going home from the hospital and receiving rehab in the home for a period of time, most often until the first follow –up visit with the surgeon, then move on to outpatient rehab. This may include visits from nursing to monitor the incision. Home care services will help you transition to outpatient rehab. 
  3. Going to a sub-acute rehab facility for extended therapy. The closest facilities are the CVPH Transitional Care Unit on the 4th floor of the hospital, Meadowbrook and Elizabethtown.

If you plan to stay in a sub-acute unit after discharge, you may make arrangements for this before surgery with the unit of your choice. However, please be advised that most insurances do not allow you to stay in the hospital to wait for an open bed at your facility of choice, if another facility in the area has an open bed to offer you. Based on your recovery while in the hospital, you may have to change your discharge plan.

While In The Hospital

On the day after your surgery, after you have had your first therapy sessions, a discharge planner will visit you in your room. He or she will discuss the various discharge options with you.

  1. During your 3 day stay in the hospital, the plan for discharge may change as you progress through therapy. The discharge planner, therapists, physician and you will discuss these changes as they happen in order to make the final determination of which option is the best for you. 
  2. The discharge planner will help you make the referral to home health or outpatient rehab, as well as make sure you have made arrangements for any equipment you may need at home.
  3. Please prepare yourself for a 3 day stay in the hospital. A plan needs to be in place for you to be discharged from acute care after that.