The Rapid Recovery Program is a comprehensive approach to joint replacement to optimize a speedy and successful outcome. The program can be broken down into four parts:
- Preoperative planning
The patient is educated about their condition and treatment options. This enables the patient to take an active role in their healthcare decisions and have more realistic expectations as to treatment outcomes. Patient education will continue in the remaining three phases of the Rapid Recovery Program as patient participation is critical in a speedy and successful outcome.
A nutritional and physical conditioning program is initiated to aid in post operative healing and physical recovery. A medical evaluation ahead of time by one?s internist helps prevent any medical complications in the immediate postoperative period. Finally planning is done as to rehabilitation environment. Optimally a patient will return home directly from the inpatient hospital setting and have a visiting physical therapist. The most rapid rehabilitation for home activities would be in the home setting.
Pain control is critical to rapid recovery. A protocol known as Multimodal pain management uses preoperative medications, combined spinal and general anesthesia and specific post operative medicine regimen to minimize pain and pain medicine complications, particularly nausea. Most of the time total arthroplasty patients are ready to leave the hospital in 2-3 days. Also the procedure is done with minimally invasive instrumentation to lessen postoperative pain and to speed recovery.
Physical therapy begins immediately to get the patient independent in mobility (protected weight bearing) and educated to become one?s own physical therapist as soon as possible.
A home therapist usually comes to the home over two weeks in a tapering of frequency to accomplish this goal. The patient has guidelines for exercise routines and safe return to desired activities. Most patients do not have to attend a formal outpatient physical therapy center.