One month after having her hip replaced at Augusta Health’s Joint Center, Cathy Crist shoveled snow. But she had already resumed some of her regular activities on a more limited basis: she'd already walked a mile and done some gentle yoga.
Crist, who lives in New Market, explained, "I'm really an active person. I golf and swim, bike and hike. But when my hip deteriorated to the point that I couldn't walk up a hill or stairs without chronic pain, I knew I needed more than the cortisone injections I'd been taking. Two of my cousins had joint replacements at Augusta Health, so I knew first-hand about their great experiences with the program. I made an appointment with Dr. Pereles, and after looking at my x-ray, he told me I needed a total hip replacement."
She did have some questions and concerns about the surgery: How would the new hip feel? Would it really hold her weight? Her questions were answered very quickly. She was walking on her new joint, with the aid of a walker and a Physical Therapist, the same day as her surgery.
"The whole program just spoke to me," said Crist. "Everything was planned out. I knew what to expect and what I was going to do when. I knew what I had ahead of me—a goal of 300 feet walked. I was not lying in bed wondering what was going on. Getting up on my feet was a huge thing to me. It gave me great confidence in that new joint."
She added, "The entire Joint Center Team was great. They were all focused on getting us up and moving. Not in a pushy way, but in an encouraging way: a you-can-do-this and we-want-you-to-be-successful manner. And at that point, a little encouragement was very helpful."
According to Joint Center statistics, the average length of stay for a hip replacement patient is just under two days (1.98 days) and the patients average 374 feet walked, among the best scores among hospitals doing more than 600 replacements a year. Crist went home one day after surgery. Before leaving, she and her coach attended the discharge Lunch and Learn that is provided for all patients and their coaches. Coaches—a family member, partner or friend who will help and encourage the patient after going home—are an integral part of the Augusta Health Joint Center program.
"The Lunch and Learn was amazing," said Crist. "There were awesome tips about what to look for over the next few weeks, medications, pain and exercise. Every question was answered. The program also provides a very complete manual that includes all the information you will need. It helped both me and my two coaches set a plan for my care and recovery according to the road map provided. The discharge protocols they provided were outstanding."
"I could not have asked for a better outcome," concluded Crist. "The care provided to me was top-notch in every aspect, and the staff who provided it showed impressive teamwork. I have great confidence in them and in my new hip."
For more information on the Joint Center, please visit https://www.augustahealth.com/joint-center.