Surgery Expectations

After Surgery

What will my hospital stay be like?
The first night of your stay, you will most likely be somewhat “groggy” from the medications you receive in surgery. You will be taken to your hospital room directly from the recovery room in your hospital bed to avoid transferring you from stretcher to bed. Once you are fully awake, you will be able to eat and drink as tolerated. Your vital signs, urinary output, and any drainage will be monitored closely by the nurses on the orthopaedic surgery floor. Appropriate pain medicine for the first 24 hours may be administered by intravenous method.

Starting on day one post-operatively, you will be getting out of bed and attending physical and occupational therapy sessions. These sessions are vital to your progress and are arranged for 2-3 sessions. The physical therapists attending you will teach you the exercises needed for your optimal recuperation and instruct you on your weight bearing technique using a walker or crutches. The occupational therapist is trained to assist you in adapting your activities of daily living to your post-operative limitations. Activities such as bathing, dressing, using the bathroom, transfers from bed to chair, ambulation, and stair climbing will all be addressed during these sessions. Instructions for traveling by various modes of transportation will also be discussed.

Will I see my doctor regularly while in the hospital?
The attending doctors make rounds daily on their patients whenever possible. In addition, the orthopaedic resident doctors or physician assistants make rounds twice daily to monitor your progress and make any changes required for your care. The case manager will also meet with you (and family members if necessary) in order to assure the proper discharge plan for your particular case. Arrangements for transfer to a rehabilitation floor or sub-acute floor either at the hospital or elsewhere will be evaluated by you and the case manager if this becomes an option.

How will I know whether to go home or to another facility for further rehab?
In general, if you live with someone who will be assisting you, discharge home is the usual procedure. Arrangements for further home or outpatient physical therapy will be made by the case manager. Most patients can go directly home if they are deemed safe by the physician and therapists. While not required, it is highly recommended to have someone to assist you the first 48-72 hours after discharge on a full-time basis and perhaps part-time the first week or two after this. If you live alone or are in an environment at home where your safety is in question (i.e., physical therapy/ occupational therapy goals not met), you may be recommended for placement in a rehabilitation center. These facilities are usually available to a patient for a 3-5 day stay, with emphasis on returning the patient home in a short period after aggressively addressing any problems with patient independence. If you live alone or are not progressing rapidly enough in therapy sessions and it is unlikely you will be able to do so in a rehab setting, a sub-acute facility may be recommended for a longer period of recuperation. The choices available depend upon the patient’s insurance coverage and, therefore, will need to be discussed by the patient, the case manager, and the insurance company as warranted.

When will I be ready for discharge?
Depending on whether you go home or to another facility to recuperate will play a role in when discharge occurs. In general, a patient may be transferred to the rehabilitation floor on the 2nd post-operative day. Transfer to the sub-acute floor may also occur on the 2nd or 3rd post-operative day. If you are being transferred to another facility, transfers usually occur on the 2nd or 3rd post-operative day as well. Discharges to home usually occur on the 3rd to 4th post-operative day in general.