Enhanced Recovery

Waiting for Your Joint Replacement - What Happens Now?

You are now on the Orthopaedic waiting list for a joint replacement operation. The following information will help you understand what the enhanced recovery programme means for you, and how you play an active role in your recovery.

What is the Enhanced Recovery Programme?

The aim of the Enhanced Recovery Programme is to get you back to full health as soon as possible after your operation. Research indicates that after surgery, the earlier we get you eating and drinking and out of bed, the quicker the recovery. This will speed up your recovery, making it less likely that complications will develop. In order to achieve this we need you to play an active part in your recovery and work together with us.

Before Your Admission to Hospital

You will receive information at your outpatient appointment to attend a "Joint School" meeting and Pre-Assessment Clinic.

Joint Replacement School Meeting

Following the decision to add you to the waiting list for your operation, you will receive an invitation to attend a "Joint School" meeting. This is a unique and exciting day where you learn all about your surgical journey..

The health professionals that you will meet at the Joint School are: Physiotherapist, Occupational Therapist, Anaesthetist, Pain Specialist Nurse, Surgeon and Enhanced Recovery Nurse.

You will meet other people about to have their hip or knee replaced at the same time as you. It is important to have the support of a family member or friend following your surgery. We recommend that a family member or friend, who can act as a support after surgery, accompanies you to this meeting.

Pre- Operative Assessment Clinic

In this clinic an assessment will be made of your general fitness and investigations carried out, e.g. blood tests, blood pressure, ECG (heart tracing) and MRSA screening. You will receive further information about this nearer the time. 

Hospital Stay

We aim for your stay in hospital to be 3 days. So as not to delay your discharge, preparation prior to admission is very important. The enhanced recovery joint care programme has been set up to help with this preparation.

What You Can Do To Help Yourself

Whilst waiting for surgery there are changes you may be able to make to improve your general health.

  • Diet - you will recover more quickly if you are healthy beforehand. Try to eat a healthy diet in the time leading up to your operation. If you have any concerns about your diet, discuss them with your GP; you can be referred to a dietician if necessary. If you are overweight, it is very important to reduce your weight in preparation for your surgery. This will help to reduce any risks associated with anaesthetic and your new joint will last longer.
  • Smoking - smoking cigarettes will compromise healing after any surgery and make you more prone to infection. This is because smoking reduces the amount of oxygen being delivered to the tissues, which is vital for the healing process. It is best to try and stop smoking, at least 2 weeks before surgery and 6 weeks after, to give time for the wound and tissues around the joint to heal. 
  • Exercises - stay active. Regular exercise will improve muscle tone, which can help to protect arthritic joints. These exercises will be shown to you at the Joint School. Having strong muscles will speed up your recovery.

You may also be interested in the the NHS Enhanced recovery website.

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