What Therapy Services Will I Receive After A Joint Replacement?

The therapy services a patient will receive after joint replacement will be a large portion of the rehabilitation process. A patient may receive all 3 types of therapies – physical, occupational and speech – depending on the physician's orders, as well as the needs, goals and desired outcomes of the patient. But a patient may only receive one of two types of therapy. Physical and occupational will be the two most common types of therapy received with joint replacement.

The therapists, under the direction and with ongoing communication with the physician, will develop a program to meet the patient's specific needs, goals and desire outcomes. This process will begin with a thorough assessment of the patient's previous level of functionality (what the patient could do before the joint replacement) compared to the current level (what the patient is now capable of doing).

The therapist(s) will work closely with the nursing staff to work with a patient's comorbid diagnosis that is other disease processes that may affect patient performance, goals and desire outcomes. The therapist(s) will consider all medical regimen and therapies – this will include a list of ordered medications and treatments. The therapist(s) will communicate with the nursing staff any clinical needs of the patient observed in therapy.

Pain is often associated with surgical joint replacement and rehabilitation therapy, the therapist(s) and interdisciplinary staff will provide ongoing assessment of the patient's pain and communicate those needs to the physician for proper ordering of pain medications that will keep the patient either pain free or at an acceptable level of pain to maintain optimal function and participation in the therapy program.

Therapist(s) will document and provide patient reporting of each patient's plan of care, goals, desired outcomes and progress for the interdisciplinary team members and for the patient and family. This documentation and patient reporting will take place in various ways, verbal communication with therapist(s), scheduled meetings with therapist(s) and/or interdisciplinary team members or by family members observing patient participating in therapy programs.

Therapist(s) will evaluate and instruct on proper use of assistive devices such as walkers, wheelchairs, canes, splints, positioning devices, etc. These assistive devices may be part of the rehabilitation plan or may become permanent equipment necessary for a patient's return to community living.

Ongoing education will be provided to the interdisciplinary team members, patient and family so that goals, progress and desired outcomes may be understood by all and to encourage patient compliance and adherence to the plan, as outlined by the physician.