From The Alden Network Podcasts: Best Practices for Rehab After Orthopedic Surgery

All surgeries require some post-operative accommodation as your body heals. Orthopedic surgery impacts your mobility, and the amount of time you’re “out of commission” depends on the severity of the procedure. Many people will attempt to recover at home, and for some that may not be enough.

While you may have the mental determination to attempt to care for yourself, a short-term rehabilitation or post-acute care center may be a necessary stepping stone for you to safely and successfully resume daily life. The point of short-term rehab is to provide more intensive therapy to get you to your fullest functional potential.

Preparation Prior to Surgery

You are more likely to have a positive recovery if you prepare prior to the procedure. Planning for your recovery phase can help reduce the risk of complications both during and after your surgery. Talk to your surgeon about your procedure. Ask questions about recommended rehabilitation length and protocol. Find out how any delays or barriers to your recovery will be addressed. Knowing the expectation for recovery will make rehab much smoother for you. Often, preoperative classes are available. These sessions brief you on what to expect. You may learn how to use things like a walker, crutches or cane. It’s easier to learn before surgery than after, when you might be unbalanced or loopy due to medication or simply being weaker than normal.

Who Needs Post-Surgical Rehab?

Having volunteers help you after surgery is wonderful, but they may not always be able to help you with your mobility as you recover. Your safety is of the greatest importance. To assess the level of acceptable mobility, patients go through a functional assessment test, which is a way to measure if you are physically able to function at home. These tests are a series of maneuvers that you would normally do during the day. Balance issues, fall risk, or other safety issues are a clear indicator that more recovery is needed. 

Recovery Time

Your recovery time will depend on your procedure and your body’s healing time. Medicine as an industry has improved. Specialists are increasingly skilled at the procedures in their field. Anesthesia is better now than ever before, allowing for a speedier immediate recovery with far less risk. The average stay in a post-acute care center is one to four days. This, again, is based on individual patient’s functionality.

Alden has licensed therapists – including physical, occupational, and speech language therapists – who are available to help patients recover. Each specialist has the autonomy to determine the best type of treatment for a patient’s success along every step of the journey to wellness. Your therapist works with you through singular smaller steps until you do have the ability to successfully complete a challenging task. A therapist works with you for safety reasons until you feel comfortable and can see for yourself that “yes, this is something I can do.” Everything is individualized to meet your own unique concerns and goals.

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