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Joint Replacement Surgery for Seniors | Comfort Keepers® of Sheboygan & Fond du Lac

Jan 6, 2016 by Luke Ries

What Seniors Need to Know About Joint Replacement Surgery

This year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a new payment program specifically for hip and knee replacements, which have become increasingly common surgeries among older adults. In fact, according to CMS data, more than 400,000 joint replacement procedures were performed on Medicare beneficiaries in 2013. Not surprising, considering that the success rate of hip replacements 10 years after surgery is 90-95 percent, and at 20 years, it is 80-85 percent. With hip replacements and knee replacements at an all-time high, it is important that seniors know what to expect when they undergo such surgeries and transition home after the hospitalization.

Pre-Surgery Preparation

Before surgery, there will be a pre-operative evaluation. The medical team will look at the surgical plan and identify possible complications. This evaluation helps ensure a successful operation: 

  • Pre-admission testing. This may include a physical exam, a lifestyle and health questionnaire, and a complete blood count to check for everything from diabetes to anemia, a coagulation test for normal blood clotting, and a test of the kidneys, liver, and pancreas. There may also be an EKG to evaluate heart health.
  • Medication adjustments. If a patient is currently taking medications, the doctor may want to adjust any prescriptions. There may be new prescriptions, including blood thinners. Since a major surgery side effect is infection, antibiotics may be recommended.
  • Imaging. The doctor will look at x-rays and possibly request an MRI to fully understand the joint condition. These images will help with the surgical plan and help decide on the size and placement of the new joint.
  • Physical therapy. The doctor or physical therapist may help with muscle-strengthening exercises. Research shows that patients who start physical therapy and strengthen their muscles before surgery recover faster and better.

Post-Surgery Recovery

Recovery takes time. The patient may experience some pain and discomfort as well as frustration with his or her limitations. It may help to read about the tips and tricks of other successful joint surgery patients or talk with friends who have experienced similar surgeries. The focus should be on the rewards of being able to engage in activities again.  In-home care services can help to create healthy, safe environments before and after hospital stays. Whether it’s just a few hours of extra help each day or full-time care, such services provide a helping hand during recovery and offer the peace of mind that’s needed. With the right preparation and support for joint replacement, seniors can heal faster and get back to being themselves.   

If you need extra help in caring for a loved one after joint replacement surgery, the team at Comfort Keepers® of Sheboygan & Fond du Lac is a trusted local resource — contact us today at (920) 843-5858.

References:

http://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2015/07/09/cms-proposes-major-initiative-for-hip-and-knee-replacements.html  

http://nihseniorhealth.gov/hipreplacement/whattoexpectinrecovery/01.html

http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/total-knee-replacement-surgery-before

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