What to expect during your hospital stay

  • Your health care team will help you start moving soon after your surgery. This may include:
    • standing next to your bed
    • walking in your room
    • sitting in the recliner chair
    • walking around the post-surgery unit.
  • You can expect to be dressed in your loose-fitting clothing.
  • The physical therapist will assess your progress and help you walk with a walker. The occupational therapist may also meet with you to help you practice getting dressed, bathing and using the toilet.
  • It is strongly suggested that your care circle member(s) be available to review your instructions on how to care for yourself at home. Ask your health care team about the current visitor guidelines and when it is best for you to have visitors.
  • The amount of time you will be in the hospital will depend on how quickly you recover. You will leave the hospital (discharge) when you meet your therapy goals and you are medically stable. This includes:
    • your pain is managed with pain medicine (by mouth)
    • being able to pass urine without problems (or having a plan for this)
    • being able to eat your regular foods
    • being able or having a plan for activities of daily living (getting dressed, bathing)
    • moving safely with an assistive walking device
    • understanding how to do your exercises
    • being able to go up and down stairs, if needed.

Remember, each person’s recovery will be different. Your health care team will help guide you through your recovery and help determine a safe discharge plan.

Make sure you know the answers to the following questions before discharge.

  • How do I care for my incision?
  • What follow-up appointments do I need?
  • Do I have activity restrictions?
  • Do I understand my new medicines?
  • Do I have my discharge medicines or know where to pick them up?

Please ask your driver to be at the hospital the day of discharge at the time your nurse shared with you.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Knee Replacement, seventh edition, ortho-ah-90140
First Published: 10/01/2000
Last Reviewed: 02/01/2020