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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.

    You can expect to be discharged from the hospital one to three days after surgery, depending on your 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, home with home care, short-term rehab facility.


    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 little 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 daily living activities.

    Home with home care

    Some patients can return home at discharge. Your family and friends will need to provide the majority of your care after you leave the hospital. Home health providers are available to make home visits but are not responsible for caring for your day-to-day needs

    The home health providers can be physical or occupational therapists, home health aides or nurses. You can schedule a time for them to come into your home to help you with special care such as walking, strengthening exercises, safety and monitoring your medical condition.

    While you're in the hospital, a social worker will talk to you to see if you qualify for visits from home health providers.

    Short-term rehab facility

    Some patients need more help and services than what can be reasonably provided at home. Such services can include daily skilled nursing care, additional rehabilitative therapy or both

    In a short-term rehab facility, 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 short-term rehab facility, there are a few things you can do before your surgery. Choose more than one short-term rehab 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, you may visit or call each of these facilities before your surgery.

  • Did you know?

    In general, most people who have joint replacement surgery leave the hospital within two days after surgery. Your health care team will work with you to determine your discharge and home care needs.


    Talk with a social worker to see if you qualify for a stay at a transitional care unit (TCU) or short-term rehabilitation center.