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When a patient decides to have joint replacement surgery — knees or hips — Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital and Washington University physicians work together to ensure patients have a plan that will lead to successful recovery.
Each patient is first provided with a valuable resource known as the Joint Replacement Patient Journey Guide, which they can use to prepare for surgery and during recovery. The Joint Replacement Patient Journey Guide helps patients with everything from managing medications to what to expect during their hospital stay to exercises following surgery.
Each patient also is required to attend a joint replacement class (unless they had a previous joint replacement in the prior year), which is held about three weeks before their procedure and when they do their pre-admission testing with the anesthesia department.
“The joint replacement class is not just for patients, but also for caregivers or joint replacement coaches, who are usually family members or friends,” says Terri St. John, MSN, RN, ONC, Washington University Orthopedics joint reconstruction services nursing administrator, who oversees the service and the nurse coordinators who teach the classes. “We hope the Joint Replacement Patient Journey Guide, class and, most importantly, a coach who is engaged in their care, will help patients throughout the whole pre-op preparation, during their hospital stay and when they go home.”
Joint replacement classes are typically offered at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital five days a week. Patients receive their Joint Replacement Patient Journey Guide before classes and have already met with their nurse coordinators.
“The classes allow patients to discuss the guide and give nurse coordinators a chance to answer questions about things like setting up your home and prepping meals, and gives coaches a chance to see what they may need to do to help their family member or friend,” says Jennifer Burggraf, RN, BSN, Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital clinical nurse supervisor joint reconstruction services, and one of several instructors. “The classes also give patients an opportunity to visit the hospital, so they know exactly where they are going on the day of joint replacement surgery and helps take away some nervousness.”
Hearing directly from the nurse coordinators is one of the unique aspects of the classes, St. John says.
“The nurse coordinators work for the surgeons, so they follow these patients throughout their whole perioperative course,” she says. “Every patient has a nurse coordinator they can call with questions, and usually stay in contact with after the first three months for consistency and continuum of care.”
The message all patients receive is that those who most often find success after their joint replacement surgery are the patients who are consistent with rehabilitation/physical therapy and have support at home.
Gwynne Hannum, RN, BSN, CCM, outpatient case manager for Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital, works with Medicare joint replacement patients. She follows patients for 90 days and helps them navigate the post-operative phase, whether they go home or need a different level of care upon discharge, like a skilled facility or rehab hospital.
She says patients often choose Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital because they receive a program that is “structured, but also personalized.”
“Our protocols are based on research, which is why we have excellent outcomes,” she says. “We have a very low infection rate, we don’t have a high rate of complications and our program ensures patients are educated through written materials, the joint class and the support they receive at the clinic level before and after surgery.”
If you or a loved one is interested in taking the first step to living a healthier lifestyle with a new hip or knee, please call 314-514-3500 or request an appointment online.
Physicians who have patients that could benefit from a hip or knee replacement can fax patient demographics to 314-878-7678 or call 314-514-3500. A Washington University School of Medicine referral coordinator will contact the physician regarding next steps.