Patient Advocacy: Knee and Hip Replacement Surgery
Over the past couple years, fewer patients are receiving post-surgical rehab after hip and knee replacement surgery as reported in the 12/14/15 Philadelphia Inquirer article, with many patients skipping physical therapy entirely. This is a concerning trend, since practice is changing without rigorous study to provide information on the effect of the decrease in rehab support on patient outcomes.
After joint replacement surgery, decisions about rehab ought to be individualized to take into account the presence of other illnesses, patient’s cognitive functioning, and the ability of family members to assist with post-surgical care. As a patient advocate, I counsel my own clients to have thoughtful conversations with their surgeons before surgery to discuss the surgeons’ rehab practices, and the patients’ medical history, home situation, and availability of family support to be certain that rehab decisions are carefully aligned with patients’ needs.