Joint Care Center earns prestigious certification

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Hillary Gavan/Beloit Daily News Beloit Health System Advanced Joint Care Center Patient Theresa Zane and Program Coordinator Jana Brotherton gather for a photo. Zane was happy and relieved to finally have a hip replacement, which she said went smoothly.

BELOIT - After Theresa Zane had a hip replacement last Tuesday, she was walking post-surgery and preparing to happily depart Beloit Memorial Hospital by Thursday afternoon.

After suffering with pain for sixth months, especially while sitting, she was relieved to have a new hip.

"I was up walking that day. I feel great," Zane said.

Zain was eager to get home and take her little puppy for walks and jump back into life again. She credited the Beloit Health System's Advanced Joint Care Center with preparing her for the surgery, managing pain after surgery and helping her launch a steady recovery. Although Zane could have been released Wednesday, she opted to stay another day for extra therapy.

"I think this is fabulous. These people are awesome and they are so nice," she said. "This is a great idea."

The Advanced Joint Care Center, 1969 W. Hart Road, is the only joint replacement program in the state of Wisconsin to receive advanced certification in total hip and total knee replacement from the Joint Commission.

"The state has programs that are certified in hip or certified in knee. This is the first in the state to have earned one designation in both surgeries," added Director of Marketing and Community Relations Tina Creighton.

"Our orthopaedic team has been performing knee and hip replacements for years and doing a very good job at that. The new program took what we had, streamlined it and made it more efficient. It's more collaborative and more informative," said Dr. Ken Klein, psyiatrist and vice president chief medical officer.

Part of the program's success is the extensive education pre-surgery as patients start in the program 30 days prior to surgery. Patients receive an informative pre-op class, a patient guidebook and get all their questions answered.

"If patients know what to expect, they are much more calm and relaxed and can take part in their after-surgery rehab," Klein said.

Once the surgery is done, there is a heavy focus on returning the patient to an active lifestyle. Because of effective pain management and advances in the devices being implanted, patients typically get out of bed the day of surgery.

"In the past, walking the same day happened very infrequently," Klein said.

Length of hospitals stays are also lessening. If someone came in for a knee replacement in the past, for example, the patient would be in the hospital for three days. Today, it's typically a day-and-a-half.

In under a month patients can be driving and walking again, and might not be thinking about their knee after three months.

Patients typically have physical therapy twice a week for six to eight weeks, but are also invited to sign up at the NorthPointe campus in Roscoe to do additional wellness training to strengthen the muscles around the joint.

In addition to physical therapy, Program Coordinator Jana Brotherton contacts every patient following surgery to see how he or she is doing and answer any questions as well as follow their progress and physical therapy.

"She can provide information to the physician even prior to the patient's next appointment," Klein added.

Klein said Brotherton also manages communications with all nurses, patients and families as well as all the doctors and staff in the physician's office and hospital staff.

"Almost every single department in the hospital is involved in this program," Klein added.

Klein said the way pain is managed has also improved as the program has standardized pain management protocols.

"Every nurse and physician all know same pain management program. It improves the quality of pain control, education and communication abilities," Klein said.

In addition to physical therapy, patients receive an after-surgery party with fellow patients who received knee and hip replacements six to eight weeks after surgery. The patients and families are invited to a breakfast get together, a convivial gathering where surgeons and nurse practitioners sometimes make an appearance. Creighton said the patients enjoy sharing their stories with each other and often form strong relationships.

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