Most people hope to go home directly from the hospital after surgery to replace a joint. Even if you and your doctor planned for you to go home after surgery, your recovery may be slower than expected. As a result, you may need to be transferred to a skilled nursing facility.
You should talk about this issue with your doctors and nurses in the weeks before your joint replacement. They can advise you about whether going directly home is right for you.
Before surgery, it is important to decide on the facility you would like to go to after you leave the hospital. You want to choose a facility that provides quality care and is located in a place that works best for you.
Make sure the hospital knows about the places you have chosen and the order of your choices. Find second and third choice options. If there is no bed available in your first choice facility, the hospital still needs to transfer you to another qualified facility.
Before you can go home after surgery, you must be able to:
Other factors may also prevent you from going directly home from the hospital.
A doctor will supervise your care. Other trained health care providers will help you grow stronger:
Visit two or three facilities. Choose more than one facility at which you would be comfortable. When visiting, ask the staff questions such as:
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Medicare coverage of skilled nursing facility care. Available at http://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/10153.pdf. Accessed August 20, 2013.
Dejong G, Horn SD, Smout RJ, et al. Joint replacement rehabilitation outcomes on discharge from skilled nursing facilities and inpatient rehabilitation facilities. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2009;90:1284-96.
Updated by: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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