Patients living alone can be safely discharged home directly after total joint arthroplasty — 5 key insights

Written by Shayna Korol | January 22, 2018 | Print  |

Patients living alone can be safely discharged directly home after total joint arthroplasty, according to a study in The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Here are five things to know:


1. The prospective cohort study followed 910 consecutive patients undergoing primary, unilateral total hip arthroplasty or total knee arthroplasty over an eight-month period. The investigational group included patients discharged directly home and lived alone for two weeks after the surgical procedure; their results were compared to patients discharged home to live with others.


2. Over the study period, 874 patients — 96 percent — were discharged directly home and only 36 patients — 4 percent — were discharged to a rehabilitation facility. Of those discharged home, 769 patients were included in the final analysis, including 138 patients living alone and 631 living with others; 105 patients opted not to participated and were excluded from the study.


3. Patients living alone more often stayed an additional night in the hospital and utilized more home health services. Patients living alone had no increase in complications or unplanned clinical events compared with patients living with others.


4. There were no significant differences in functional outcomes or pain relief between the two groups. Satisfaction scores were equivalent after 90 days.


5. The study authors conclude that extending the initial hospitalization and providing home health services on a selected basis may be a more cost-effective approach than routine discharge to an inpatient rehabilitation facility for patients living alone.


More articles on orthopedics:

Orthopedic surgeon to know: Dr. David Lewallen of Mayo Clinic

Next-generation sequencing better at detecting infected joint replacement than traditional methods, study finds — 4 takeaways

Obesity linked to increased risk of disability after joint surgery — 5 insights

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