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Discharge planning: Make plans for leaving the hospital after hip replacement surgery

Planning for leaving the hospital

Making plans for when you leave the hospital is a very important part of your total hip replacement recovery. Your health care team will work with you and your family to help develop your discharge plan. By using this plan, you and your family can make most discharge arrangements before your surgery.

A discharge plan is one of the following three:

Home

You can return to your home if you can do the following at the time of discharge:

  • get in and out of bed and a chair with minimal help
  • walk with your walker, crutches or cane
  • walk the distance from your bedroom to your bathroom and kitchen
  • go up and down stairs safely, if needed.

You also need to have help from either family or friends on a regular basis until you regain your independence and self-confidence in walking and in daily living activities.

Home with home care

Some patients can return home at discharge but need some help beyond what family and friends can provide. Your health care team will help to determine what your home care needs are. While you're in the hospital, a social worker will talk to you to see if you qualify for visits from home health providers.

These home care providers can be physical or occupational therapists, home health aides or nurses who come into your home to help you with walking, strengthening exercises, daily living tasks and safety issues, and to monitor your medical condition.

Skilled nursing facility/swing beds

Some patients need more help and services than what can be provided at home. Such services can include daily skilled nursing care, additional rehabilitative therapy or both.
Talk with a social worker to see if you qualify for a stay at a skilled nursing/swing bed facility.
In a skilled nursing facility/swing bed, you can continue your rehabilitation program and have your medical needs monitored until you can safely return home. Therapy sessions focus on building strength, endurance and self care skills. You will be cared for by a team of health care professionals who will work with you and your family so you can return home as soon as possible.

Before your hip replacement surgery, your health care team can help you identify a facility with the extended care services you may need after your hospital stay.

To prepare for your stay at a skilled nursing facility/swing bed there are a few things you can do before your surgery. Choose more than one skilled nursing facility where you would be comfortable, that have the rehab services you require after a total joint replacement, and are approved by your insurance company. If possible, visit each of these facilities before your surgery.

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Source: Allina Patient Education, Total Hip Replacement, third edition, ortho-ahc-90139

First published: 10/01/2000
Last updated: 03/01/2007

Reviewed by: Allina Patient Education experts