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What to know about getting joint replacement surgery during Covid-19

Across the country, hundreds of hospitals have been forced to limit the number of elective surgeries performed, including knee and hip replacements. 

For many orthopedic patients, even those who feel they simply can’t wait, choosing to move forward or postpone their procedure isn’t an easy decision. According to the CDC, 4 in 10 adults have chosen to defer medical care during the pandemic. 

There are a number of ways to determine the urgency of your situation. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it may be time to consider outpatient surgery:

  • You have difficulty completing daily tasks without help
  • You experience significant pain that isn’t relieved by rest and medication or keeps you awake at night
  • Osteoarthritis is impacting your mental and physical health
  • The side effects from  your pain mediation are severe
  • Tests show significant joint damage or severe arthritis

Dr. Kuesis specializes in same-day outpatient hip and knee replacement surgery to help relieve your pain, increase your motion, and ease you back into normal, everyday activities.

There are several reasons to choose to undergo outpatient knee or outpatient hip replacement surgery at Geneva Surgical Suites during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The benefits of undergoing outpatient joint replacements at Geneva Surgical Suites during Covid-19

More affordable surgery

Oftentimes, ambulatory surgery centers (ASC) such as Geneva Surgical Suites can offer a more affordable alternative to patients than a hospital setting. This is because they do not incur the costs associated with hospitals (e.g. administrative costs and overhead costs) and patients cannot stay overnight. Cost savings vary, but surgery centers can cost up to 60 percent less than a hospital setting.

Medicare Part B now allows for medically necessary total hip and knee replacements to be performed in an outpatient facility. This will help cover the cost of care and includes doctor visits, physical therapy, and medical equipment. If a patient has Medicare as well as secondary insurance, out-of-pocket costs may be extremely low.

Less risk of harmful bacteria

Patient safety is the main priority, Geneva Surgical Suites continues to follow the CDC and IDPH recommendations.

While hospitals and other ASCs offer multiple services, the Geneva Surgical Suites care team specializes in and offers only orthopedic surgeries. Doing so greatly reduces the risk of any unwanted or harmful organisms coming into contact with the area being operated on, which is crucial during the time of Covid-19. 

In addition, staffing is limited. Typically, just one to two orthopedic surgeons are operating at any given time, and only essential individuals (e.g. interpreters or drivers) are allowed to accompany a patient. This ensures that there are fewer visitors in the center, which also works to reduce the risk of exposure while promoting a clean, safe environment. 

This doesn’t just apply to Covid-19: Studies have shown that ASCs typically experience lower rates of surgical site infection than hospital settings. 

Superior surgery experience

ASCs such as Geneva Surgical Suites have greater control over the entire process, resulting in fewer delays or reschedules than in a traditional hospital setting. Oftentimes, ASCs even perform procedures in a more efficient manner with an equal – if not superior – quality when compared to hospitals. 

Once a joint replacement is complete, patients in a typical hospital setting often remain in the hospital for anywhere from one to three days. In the time of Covid-19, this spells trouble: patients may contract the virus while recovering in a hospital setting during their one- to three-day stay.

When a joint replacement is performed as an outpatient procedure at an ASC, patients are able to return home directly after the surgery. This allows the recovery plan to begin within 24 hours. In addition, patients often sleep and eat better when recovering in their own homes.

The joint replacement recovery experience

Almost all patients return home the same day after a hip or knee replacement instead. Should an emergency arise, their surgeon can keep them on-site for 23 hours for monitoring. 

This can seem daunting, but the reality is that it will be a faster, more comfortable recovery than one started in a hospital. Patients can even expect to regain full joint function more quickly.

Here are a few ways to make the recovery process a little easier:

Create a comfortable space for recovery

Naturally, movement will be restricted post-op and stairs will be difficult to climb, which means a comfortable, convenient recovery space is crucial. 

When choosing where to recover, note that the space should be restricted to one room and function almost like a studio apartment. It should include a bed, toiletries, medication, and clothing.

Even when you’re not sleeping, dressing, or bathing, it should be convenient to anything you might need. Make sure items such as water, snacks, books, and the TV remote are within arm’s reach to avoid moving too frequently. 

While a soft chair may be tempting, choose one with a firm back and armrests instead. This will help to avoid the sense of sinking into the cushion that could cause further pain, and armrests will provide assistance in getting out of the chair.

It’s important to note that your home should be clutter-free and have large walking paths. You can ensure this by moving furniture prior to your operation and moving any rugs or cords out of the way. 

Furthermore, you might also consider investing in fall prevention equipment and making sure you’re taking all necessary precautions. The CDC’s fall prevention checklist is a great resource and provides guidelines for older patients with items such as grabbers, step stools, grab bars, and good lighting.

Make your bathroom safe

Regardless of age, the bathroom is one of the most hazardous spaces in the home, with hospitals treating more than 600 bathroom-related injuries every day. Of these, 80 percent are related to falls and risk only increases with age. 

That’s why a safe bathroom is a critical piece of the recovery process.

Prior to operation, move everything to a bathroom on a lower floor, including toiletries, towels, and medications, in order to avoid walking up and down stairs.

The first step in creating a safe bathroom is to keep surfaces prone to becoming slick as dry as possible. This includes the bathroom floor as well as the floor of the shower or tub. Install a non-stick mat in the shower or tub and lay plenty of bathmats on the floor.

Standing for extended periods of time and exerting energy on movement is uncomfortable during recovery, but there are a number of ways to combat this while bathing. Consider installing grab bars in the shower or tub to prevent slipping and make moving in and out easier. These can be installed on the side and back of the stall.

Additionally, you should use a non-slip mat on the shower or tub floor. When you stand on a non-slip mat, you avoid the slickness that comes from moisture and humidity and have your footfall stabilized simultaneously. 

Move necessary items to a level height

Don’t exert unnecessary force attempting to reach up or bend down to get something you may need. Instead, move any essential items to waist-level – a low shelf of level countertop will do perfectly. This includes (but is not limited to) medications, food, and toiletries.

If there are items you cannot put on a lower surface, invest in a step stool to safely reach them.

Ask for help

Don’t be afraid to ask friends or family members for assistance during your recovery process, especially if you have dependents under your care.

For the first week or two after surgery, the following areas are the ones you can expect to need help in:

  • Changing bandages
  • Monitoring your condition
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Household chores (e.g. laundry, cooking, grocery shopping, paying bills)

If you live alone and feel safe doing so, consider asking your friend or family member to stay for dinner after they assist you in cooking. While this certainly helps maintain a social life after surgery, it will also help you eat when you may not feel like it. Studies show that eating with a friend increases consumption by as much as 18 percent.

Undergoing a joint replacement during Covid-19 is possible and safe at Geneva Surgical Suites. Speak with our expert staff today to learn more.

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Elk Grove Village

555 Biesterfield Road

Elk Grove Village, Illinois 60007

Phone: (847) 690-1776

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Hoffman Estates

2380 Lakewood Blvd.

Hoffman Estates, Illinois 60192

Phone: (847) 690-1776

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Surgical Affiliations

Physician and Orthopedic Surgeon in Geneva
Geneva Surgical Suites

119 Elizabeth Ln., Genoa City, WI 53128

Phone: 262-295-1213

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Alexian Brothers Medical Center

800 Biesterfield Rd.

Elk Grove Village, IL 60007

Phone: 847-437-5500

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St. Alexius Medical Center

1555 Barrington Rd.

Hoffman Estates, IL 60169

Phone: 847-843-2000

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Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital

450 West Highway 22

Barrington, IL 60010

Phone: 847-381-0123

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