St. Mark's Hospital - May 26, 2019

Getting back on your feet after joint replacement surgery takes time, patience and physical therapy. You may think you need to recover at an inpatient rehabilitation facility. But new research in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that many patients do just as well recovering at home.

The Australian study looked at knee-replacement outcomes in patients six months after surgery and found no difference in pain level, mobility or knee function between those who spent time in a rehab facility and those who followed an exercise program at home.

The small study backed up the findings of a larger study led by Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, which found that patients who recuperated at home after knee or hip replacement surgeries had similar outcomes as those using inpatient facilities.

The cost savings from recovering at home is a big plus, but going straight home from the hospital may not be suitable for everyone. Here’s what you should consider—with input from your doctor, of course!

Am I healthy enough?

If you are frail or have conditions that need to be monitored by professionals, you may do best in a rehab facility. Your doctor may also recommend inpatient care if you have complications after surgery or need help with pain management.

Is my home environment safe?

Going up and down stairs can be difficult after surgery. If your bedroom isn’t on the first floor or can’t be moved there temporarily, at-home rehab may be a bad idea.

Do I have help?

Most people need assistance with daily activities during the first few days or week of recovery. Having a relative or friend around can also help you with your exercise program.

Do I have a can-do attitude?

Confidence is essential for successfully recovering at home.