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At-home Rehab after Total Knee Replacement as Good as Staying at a Rehab Facility

People who receive physical therapy at home after total knee replacement surgery do as well as those who receive physical therapy while staying at an inpatient rehab facility, according to a new study by researchers at Hospital for Special Surgery.

“There’s a common belief that people should go to a rehab facility after joint replacement,” Dr. Douglas E. Padgett, chief of the Adult Reconstruction and Joint Replacement Service at the Hospital for Special Surgery said in a March 24, 2015 press release. “Our study found that patients can be safely discharged to their home following knee replacement, dispelling the notion that rehabilitation at an inpatient facility is essential for a successful recovery.”

Researchers analyzed health information for more than 2,400 patients enrolled in the hospital’s knee replacement registry. They found no difference in complication rates within six months of knee joint replacement, regardless of whether patients went from the hospital to an inpatient rehab facility or home. Both groups of patients had similar results from surgery, in terms of pain and function, two years after their procedures.

In general, patients who go home after total knee replacement receive home-based physical therapy three days a week for four to six weeks. People who go to inpatient rehabilitation facilities often receive physical therapy for six days a week and stay in the facilities for 10 to 14 days. These patients might continue to physical therapy once they go home or, if they have transportation, could go to outpatient physical therapy.

Patients and their providers should consider each patient’s social situation before deciding on whether at-home or inpatient physical therapy is best after total joint replacement. Some patients who live alone and don’t have a support system might be better off in an inpatient rehabilitation unit. The important news from this study is that these patients do equally well in the short- and long-terms, regardless of whether they receive inpatient or at-home physical therapy services.

Physical therapists are trained to not only provide rehabilitation to patients after total joint replacement, but also in preparation of the surgery. Studies have shown that people who go into total joint replacement surgery with stronger muscles tend to have better results. For more information about how physical therapists can help people who are having total hip replacement or total knee replacement surgery, contact A Physical Therapist, Inc.

A Physical Therapist, Inc., is a one-on-one physical therapy clinic in Delray Beach, Fla., and Harrisburg, Penn. For patients in Palm Beach County, A Physical Therapist, Inc., is easily accessible from Boca Raton or Boynton Beach. For patients in Dauphin County, A Physical Therapist, Inc., is easily accessible from Hershey and Marysville.

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