Center Brings New Approach to Old Procedure

Joint replacement surgery is pretty common; more than 400,000 Americans will get a new knee or hip this year. But that doesn't mean doctors stop working to make them better.

66-year-old John Peterson's knew was going downhill for awhile. When he started having trouble getting to his seats at Allen Fieldhouse to watch basketball games, he knew he needed help.

It brought John to Stormont-Vail's Total Joint Center in January for a knee replacement. Opened in December, it's a new way of approaching such procedures.

Nurse Susan Welch, Program Coordinator, says the Center is focused on getting patients and family involved in surgery, even before the operation. The Center was designed with joint patients in mind. Rooms even use a sliding bathroom door so it's easier for patients who often use walkers after their surgeries. Other areas teach patients how to adjust to tasks like bathing and walking stairs as they climb the hill of recovery.

The Center also brings joint replacement patients together in one area of the hospital. They take pre-operative class together, have a group dining area, even a group therapy session. Welch says that allows attachments and relationships to develop among patients.

Peterson likens it to a teamwork situation. He says you see other patients doing rehab and realize you can, too.

Five weeks into life with his new knee, John says it, and the entire process, scores a slam-dunk with him. He says his life is much more mobile and he's ready to climb stairs to cheer on KU whatever arena the NCAA tournament takes them to!

For more information on the Total Joint Center, go to www.stormontvail.org.


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