Post-Op Joint Replacement Rehab: In-Patient or In-Home?

After a total joint replacement, you'll need rehab in order to regain range of motion and strength. Proper physical therapy, done correctly and consistently, can help you recover most if not all your pre-replacement ability; the new joint may even make it easier for you to do certain activities because now there's no pain and no deterioration that you have to worry about.

Physical therapy used to be an onsite thing, either in the hospital or in a rehab center that someone would have to take you to. Now, however, you have the option of having the rehab done at your own home. This has its advantages and disadvantages, as you can already guess.

The Level of Overall Care and Assistance Needed

The biggest determinant of whether you have to stay in the hospital or residential rehab center, or whether you can go home, is what the level of overall care needed is, and what amount of assistance you need. If you can't walk, and your home can't accommodate a wheelchair, you may have to stay in a rehab center. If you need intense medical monitoring, you'll likely still be in the hospital. However, if you had, say, an elbow joint replacement on your non-dominant arm, and you need no other care, going home and having the physical rehab done there should be fine. Also, if your rehab requires equipment that is not easy to transport, you may have to at least go to a rehab center for the therapy, but you'll be able to live at home in the meantime. And many home physical-rehab companies have portable equipment that they can use as substitutes.

Covid Concerns

Despite the mass "opening up" and "return to normalcy" waves rolling through states in early 2022, many people still have concerns about Covid. You may feel a lot more comfortable staying at home and having as much physical rehab done there as possible. This can certainly help you avoid people who are potentially Covid-positive. It can make it trickier to find home-rehab companies in some states because you'll want one where the staff still take COVID concerns seriously and have good protocols in place. Many companies do.

Insurance Limits

Your insurance may place limits on payment for your care, and you may decide it's better to be at home for as much of your recovery as possible. This is a frustrating factor because it can make you feel like your medical care is out of your hands. However, doctors and rehab companies are aware of how insurance can sometimes make recovery more difficult, and they should have some tactics to smooth things out.

As you transition from immediate post-op care to long-term recovery and physical therapy, you'll want to be as comfortable as possible. Being able to have total joint replacement post-op rehab in a setting that makes you feel best is important, and if that setting is at home, you should ask your doctor about finding a company that will help you with therapy there. 

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