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John C. Lincoln Hospitals Create a Better Hospital Stay, Recovery for Patients

Nurses help a patient during a Joint Venture class
Joint Venture classes before hip and knee replacement surgery help patients know exactly what to expect during recovery.

Linda Wilson Applegate, a Phoenix resident and culinary student, admits she was "just pretty freaked out" by cardiac surgery.

Through the pre-testing process a few days before surgery, blood tests and other tests were performed, and she learned everything she needed to know about the upcoming procedure.

Most importantly, she was treated with compassion and kindness that eased her fears and gave her trust in the hospital, physicians, nurses and other staff to give her the best care possible.

"I actually felt better when I walked out of pre-testing than I had when I walked in," she said. "Everyone was just amazing. I was not expecting it to be such a positive experience. I have never been treated as well at any other hospital."

Patients more often than not come into the hospital filled with anxiety. Several programs, including the extensive Pre-Admitting process and a Joint Venture class, offered at both John C. Lincoln North Mountain Hospital and John C. Lincoln Deer Valley Hospital, improve the hospital experience for patients by helping them prepare ahead of time and understand what will happen as they continue on the road to wellness.

The Joint Venture class prepares total hip replacement and knee replacement surgery patients for surgery and recovery with the help of a nurse, a physical therapist and a social services worker.

Joint Venture patients receive a comprehensive book and have plenty of time to ask questions before surgery. The class covers many topics including how to prepare your home in advance, activities and exercises to maximize recovery, how to recognize and prevent complications, precautions before surgery, rehabilitation during and after the hospital stay, pain management, and expectations of recovery.

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"Having surgery is a big decision," said Erin Kennedy, RN, MSN, one of the teachers. "Our goal is to provide you with exceptional care and a positive hospital experience. The more you know, the better your recovery will be."

After joint replacement, the joint's natural reaction is to stiffen. The muscles want to atrophy. Without strengthbuilding exercises and range-of-motion exercises, along with physical therapy, the joint will not recover optimally.

This makes physical therapy particularly important, said Theodore Hofstedt, MD, an orthopedic surgeon with North Phoenix Orthopedic Surgeons. He recommends the Joint Venture class for his patients.

"I think it's imperative," he said. "When you can sit down and have someone really explain what's going to happen and what they will be going through, the outcomes are so much better."

Roy Bradshaw of Phoenix had total knee replacement on his left knee in March. He felt well prepared for surgery and recovery after talking with Dr. Hofstedt and going to the Joint Venture class. He couldn't stand for very long and the knee pain — going on for more than four years — was hampering his job. Plus he is getting married in May, and he and Vickie like to travel and spend time with their combined 11 grandchildren.

"Some might say there is redundancy with a class, too," he said. "But there is always something in a class you never have thought about and gives you a different angle to look at."

Vickie went through all the class information as well. "It re-affirmed what the expectations were, and it made me feel better that we both were on the same page," she said.

Learn more about orthopedics at John C. Lincoln Hospitals.

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