Published on May 11, 2012

Illini Campus Offers One-Stop Care For Joint Replacement

At age 68, an otherwise healthy Robert Osborne was ready for new knees.

The osteoarthritis in both knees had progressively grown worse. He experienced constant pain. He “waddled, not walked” on legs that bowed. With much effort, he climbed the stairs of his East Moline home by hanging onto the railing and pulling himself up each step.

“I had no support in my knees, and I fell down several times, so I had to be very, very careful. There was always pain,” Osborne says. “My knees were only going to get worse.”

He and his orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Shawn Wynn of ORA Orthopedics, agreed it was time for total knee replacements.

In February, Osborne had both knees replaced at the Genesis, Illini Campus in Silvis and discovered the convenience of receiving all his care on the same campus -- the surgery, the hospital stay, 10 days of skilled care at Illini Restorative Care, and then outpatient physical therapy from Illini Rehabilitative Services.

Instead of going straight home after his hospital stay, he was rolled in a wheelchair to the adjoining Illini Restorative Care.

At Illini Restorative Care, he received several days of skilled nursing care and rehabilitation in the 22-bed, Medicarecertified skilled nursing care unit. The unit is one of three levels of care at Illini Restorative Care.

Osborne also was glad his wife, Donna, didn’t have to handle the extensive care demands required for a patient with double knee replacements. Instead, he was cared for in a place prepared to accommodate joint replacement patients.

“I had always heard that Illini was a great place to have joint replacement surgery, so it made sense to have my two knee replacements there,” Osborne explains.

Although it’s not as common to have both knee replacements done on the same day, Osborne was a good candidate.

“I wasn’t too old, I had a good attitude, I’m not overweight, and I’m fairly healthy. I went for it, and it worked out great. Everyone at Illini did a marvelous job with my care -- from my surgery and hospital stay, to Illini Restorative Care, to my outpatient physical therapy with physical therapist, Michelle Heitz.”

Convenience and comfort Robert Osborne is among many joint replacement surgery patients who choose to spend time at Illini Restorative Care after leaving the hospital.

“Some patients who have total hip or knee replacement surgery decide to go directly home from the hospital and receive therapy as an outpatient,” says Debbie Slater, Senior Service Administrator of Illini Restorative Care.

“Others come to Illini Restorative Care and stay in our Skilled Care Unit, where they receive direct nursing care and daily physical and occupational therapy before they return home.

“They can receive help managing their pain and daily therapy -- rather than traveling back and forth from home to an outpatient clinic three times a week. They can rest and recuperate without worrying about household chores. We provide all that for them.”

She adds, “They don’t have to be of Medicare age to take advantage of this...we have younger individuals stay here, as well.”

A care continuum

Before joint replacement surgery, patients are offered pre-surgery education where they receive information and meet with nurses from the Outpatient Care Center, Operating Room and Surgical Unit, and representatives from physical therapy, dietary, social services and Genesis Home Medical Equipment. They also can fill out pre-admission paperwork and have any lab testing they need done at the same time.

“At the joint class, they meet with multiple providers and learn what to expect and how to prepare themselves,” says physical therapist Connie Tauke, Rehabilitation Manager at Genesis, Illini Campus. “We also give them exercises to do before surgery to help strengthen key muscle groups so they will be more successful in rehab after surgery.”

Patients learn how to avoid fall hazards, including putting away throw rugs, getting a shower bench, having a grab bar or railing on their stairs, and clearing walkways at home to accommodate a walker. Hip replacement patients must take certain bending precautions, so it’s important for patients to have easy access to items so they do not have to bend or stoop, she adds.

A similar class for joint-replacement patients is available to patients who have their joint-replacement surgery at the Genesis Medical Center, West Central Park Campus in Davenport, which has a dedicated Orthopedic Unit.

Robert Osborne and his wife attended the joint class together. They learned what to expect and how to prepare their home for his convalescence. Therapy at Illini Restorative Care focuses on achieving the daily living skills they will need to return home.

“The nice thing about the Illini Campus is that our therapy staff often floats back and forth between the hospital and Illini Restorative Care. Often, the therapist who evaluates a patient in the hospital also follows him or her to Illini Restorative Care,” Tauke says.

That same care continuum extends to when patients go home and return to the Illini Campus for outpatient rehabilitation. “Our therapists reside in the same physical space, so there’s that ease of communication when patients transfer from inpatient to outpatient rehabilitation,” Tauke says.

Today, Osborne has completed therapy and is living with much more comfort.

“I can go up and down stairs, I walk nice and straight, and my mother-in-law says I’m straighter and taller than I’ve ever been. I gained about a half inch in height,” he concludes “The surgery has healed nicely, and everything went very well.”

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