HelloHealthy | Fall 2018 5 Unless you’ve had joint replacement surgery before, you don’t know what to expect before and after the surgery. And yet that knowledge could help you have a more successful recovery. That’s why Dignity Health – Mercy Medical Center offers something called the Steps Program, which is designed for people having total hip or knee replacement surgery. “We started the Steps Program because we felt like our patients needed to have information and education about what to expect during their joint-replacement experience,” says Karen Montgomery, RN, Total Joint Program Coordinator at Dignity Health – Mercy Medical Center. “It takes a little of the mystery away.” What’s involved The first part of the Steps Program is a presurgery class held at the hospital. The classes are available in English and Spanish, and course materials are available in other languages, as well. Class attendees learn things such as how to prepare for their surgery, what to expect on the day of their surgery, and how to manage their pain. “We also teach them how to get ready for their recovery,” Montgomery says. For instance, Steps Program participants hear about the exercises they will need to do in order to use their new joint better. Those exercises will start in the hospital and continue throughout the recovery process. Physical therapy exercises—whether done at home or in an outpatient center—are a key part of successful joint surgery. “We teach our patients that mobility is medicine,” Montgomery says. Participants also learn what they may need to do to make their home safer for their return from the hospital. For instance, they may need to temporarily move furniture out of the way or get rid of loose rugs that could cause them to fall and injure their new joint. Support at every step The Steps Program is more than just presurgery classes, however. If you are having joint replacement surgery and take part in the program, you’ll continue to be supported even after your surgery is complete. “We continue to teach you while you’re in the hospital to reinforce what you’ve already learned in the class,” Montgomery says. “And then we prepare you for home by making sure you have any equipment you may need to get around at home, such as a walker,” she says. “And we teach you how to use that equipment.” This is just some of the valuable information and support you’ll receive as a Steps Program participant. You’ll also get a care plan, a patient guide book, and an exercise outfit (a t-shirt and shorts) to wear during your physical therapy sessions. “Pretty much everybody tells me they are so glad that they came to the Steps Program class because it did answer their questions,” Montgomery says. “It prepares them ahead of time and supports them throughout their hospital experience.” Step up to a better joint replacement experience The goal is to help you recover fully so you can enjoy pain-free activities again.