Pre-Surgery Joint Replacement Class Now Offered at University Medical Center at Princeton

Mar 2, 2009

Princeton, NJ - A new pre-surgery class for joint replacement patients is now being offered four times a month by University Medical Center at Princeton. Patients will learn what to expect before, during and after joint replacement surgery. This knowledge will enable patients to prepare both mentally and physically for this common, yet invasive, surgery.

Developed by UMCP's board certified orthopedic surgeons W. Thomas Gutowski, MD, FAAOS, and Harvey E. Smires, MD, the one-hour class is conducted by one of UMCP's orthopedic certified nurses -- Sue Anderson, RN, AD, ONC; Susan Greenan, RN, MA, ONC; Ann Laughlin, RN, AD, MALS, BA, ONC; or Janet Napalitano, RN, BSN, CNOR, ONC. Sangita Verma, DPT, a doctorate-level physical therapist and geriatric clinical specialist, and Carol Brodsky, BSW, Clinical Liaison, also instruct sections of the class. In addition, Dr. Smires wrote two booklets for patients, A Guide to Total Hip Replacement and A Guide to Total Knee Replacement, which are given to patients in the class for reference.

The program addresses both the simple and more complex issues that go along with either hip or knee replacement surgery and recovery. Attendees learn what to expect every step of the way in their surgical journey. Each presenter discusses specific areas of importance, such as pre-admission testing; surgery and anesthesia; post-operative care and recovery, including inpatient, outpatient and home rehabilitation; insurance coverage; and pain management.

Knee-replacement patient Isabel C. See of Hillsboro took the pre-surgery joint replacement class in January. Her surgery was performed by Dr. Gutowski in February.

"The nurses and physical therapist at the class were very supportive and helpful. I'm definitely glad I took the class," says See.

"The staff knew what each surgeon likes the patient to do pre-op, so we were all instructed individually according to the orthopedic surgeon we had," she adds. "The class helped settle the anxiety that several patients were feeling."

Although all patients receive physical therapy, the location, frequency and intensity varies based on the individual patient's needs and his or her physician's orders. Princeton HomeCare Services will provide physical therapy to patients who go directly home, or to patients after they leave a rehabilitation facility. In addition, all patients receive a home safety evaluation to determine what modifications, if any, need to be made to the home to make their environment safe. Patients are assessed for their risk of falling and interventions are initiated to reduce the fall risk. Princeton HomeCare Services nurses will also instruct patients on exercises they need to do in-between therapy visits, do routine blood tests, monitor the incision site for healing, provide patient education about medications, discuss safety precautions, reinforce education about hip precautions, and address any other needs the patient may have.

Please call Jayanti Ingle, Rehab Manager, University Medical Center at Princeton, with any questions, at 609.497.4218 or 609.497.4220. For assistance finding an orthopedic surgeon on staff at Princeton HealthCare System, please call 1.888.PHCS4YOU (1.888.742.7496).