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News For Patients Planning for a Total Hip Replacement

Posted on: 07/31/2003
When it comes to total hip replacements (THRs), a lot has changed in the past ten years. Patients go home from the hospital much sooner now. New technology, better rehab, and preparing the patient for surgery make this possible. Insurance companies also pay for fewer days in the hospital.

Physical therapists at the Center for Clinical Outcomes Research in New York have been keeping track of THRs for the past 11 years. They report other changes over the years, too. More patients are discharged to rehab centers; fewer go home alone.

When skills are measured, patients are less able to walk or get in and out of bed upon discharge today compared to 10 years ago. The authors report length of stay (LOS) in the hospital may depend on the diagnosis. Patients with hip fractures stay the longest. Patients with osteoarthritis are released the earliest. Ten years ago, men were more likely to leave the hospital sooner than women. Today, LOS and day of discharge is the same for men and women.

The results of this study point out the need for more rehab after discharge. The authors think the reasons for this are the short stay and decreased skill level at discharge. Rehab may have to be done at home or a skilled nursing facility, depending on the patient's physical needs.

S. B. Ganz, PT, et al. The Day of Discharge after Total Hip Arthroplasty and the Achievement of Rehabilitation Functional Milestones: 11-Year Trends. In The Journal of Arthroplasty. June 2003. Vol. 18. No. 4. Pp. 453-457.

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