older woman speaking with nurseAbout one million hip and knee joint replacements are performed on older adults each year. While these new joints are successful for roughly 90 percent of patients, the recovery process can be lengthy.

For most patients, rehabilitation therapy is recommended to help improve the joint’s mobility, flexibility, strength and address any complications. Short-term rehabilitation can provide the most efficient and targeted route to getting back on your feet.

Short-Term Inpatient Rehabilitation

Short-term inpatient programs are the most comprehensive, providing therapy and rehabilitation services in a transitional setting. This option is available at a skilled nursing facility, such as West Hartford Health & Rehabilitation Center, or a hospital.

Short-term inpatient rehabilitation can be intense but it delivers results. Patients work with a team of professionals, including physicians, physical and occupational therapists, counselors and case managers. Based on your procedure, a targeted treatment plan will be developed.

These facilities also have rehabilitation equipment that patients can use on their own between official sessions. The goal is to help regain a level of comfort and mobility to get through day-to-day tasks without significant assistance once you return home.

Staying in a short-term rehab facility also eliminates the need to travel to appointments. Under the care and supervision of multiple professionals, you can focus solely on recovery.

Outpatient Rehabilitation

Outpatient rehabilitation involves multiple therapy sessions per week at a dedicated facility. The biggest difference here is that patients are discharged from the hospital, then travel from home to the rehabilitation center for appointments. While recovery from home may sound appealing, outpatient rehab is only ideal under certain conditions:

  • You live with someone who can assist you at home and take you to appointments.
  • You’ll be able to continue your therapy at home. Otherwise, recovery will take longer.
  • Updates can be made to you home, so recovery is not impeded by the environment. For instance, stairs and trip hazards pose significant risks.

Timeline for Recovery After Joint Replacement

If you’re discharged to an inpatient rehabilitation facility:

  1. You’ll receive daily physical and occupational therapy, along with pain management and assistance with bathing, dressing, eating and other activities.
  2. After three to six weeks of inpatient care, you may become more independent. Yet for many patients, it takes a year to fully recover mobility, strength and flexibility.
  3. When it’s time to return home, your case manager or social worker may consult a family member to ensure the living environment won’t halt progress. You may also work with a dietician to ensure meals align with your current dietary needs.
  4. Many patients transition to an outpatient program to continue their therapy. You’ll also keep seeing your doctor to ensure the joint is performing as expected.

West Hartford Health & Rehabilitation Center offers short-term rehabilitation services following joint replacement. Patients in recovery work with a full team of professionals to gradually improve mobility and acclimate to their new joint. To learn more, contact us today.