How am I going to get better faster? This is the question that our STARS therapists are hearing from this up and coming baby booming population. Patients are making a conscious effort to do everything they can to limit the amount of time they’ll need to spend in rehab after surgery. They want to return to their life quickly and get on with their active lifestyles.
When surgery is imminent, there are things that physical therapists can do to ensure the best possible patient outcomes. We can work to optimize range of motion, strength, and function, so the patient is in front of the starting line when he/she undergoes surgery and has a heads start afterward.
What is Prehabilitation?? Rehabilitation before surgery– There’s growing evidence that adding a “p” to rehabilitation improves patient outcomes pre- and postsurgery—and saves money, too.
Patient education is a big part of prehabilitation. Patients are instructed in what to expect and do before and immediately after surgery to maximize healing, rang of motion, strength and overall recovery. During this process, patients are educated on their specific impairments and functional deficits, so they can begin to work on those deficits prior to surgery. Afterward, because patients know from their education the at the new joint is stable, they quickly begin the early-activation process of movement that helps reduce swelling, initiates muscle contraction, increases range of motion, and reduces pain.
In this changing health care environment, given the increasing number of total joint replacements being performed and the number of people who want to remain as active as possible for as long as possible, STARS sees prehab as a game changer!
While prehab exercises strengthen the patient for the procedure and reduce recovery, simply having a professional to talk to can also be extremely valuable to the patient. A therapist can tell them what they can expect throughout the process. They have less fear as a result. And the less fear-avoidance behavior there is, the better patient outcomes tend to be.
Therapists teach the patient in prehab not to be afraid to move—to work on their range of motion and strength early in the healing process. As a result, by the time they return to therapy after surgery 1 to 3 weeks after the procedure, they are weeks ahead in their rehab of where they might otherwise have been.
To learn more about STARS services, locations and prehab…visit our website www.starspt.org