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Jose Marina, D.O., examines the knee of patient Rose Forquer during a consultation.

(Mission, TX) – In the past 5 years, the number of American adults who underwent knee replacement surgery more than doubled, and the number of people who received hip replacements increased three-fold. Today, more than 400,000 people receive total joint replacements of their hips or knees in this country alone, and those numbers are only expected to rise.

At Mission Regional Medical Center, similar growth in knee and hip surgery is being realized. In 2010, the hospital performed 175 hip and knee replacement surgeries. To support these surgical patients in a unique and unmatched environment, the hospital has opened the Joint Replacement Institute at Mission Regional Medical Center. Located in the first floor of the Medical Office Building East, the Institute offers comprehensive care and education for patients undergoing hip and knee replacement.

The first and only center of its kind in Hidalgo County, the Joint Replacement Institute allows patients to stay close to home, friends and family without the need to travel away from the area for this level of care.

At the Institute, patients will find an integrated team of highly-trained health care professionals including orthopedic surgeons skilled at minimally invasive joint replacement procedures, nurses specialized in the care of joint replacement patients, physical and occupational therapists who treat patients while they are in the hospital, and case managers to help with discharge planning to bring you peace of mind when you are ready to leave the hospital.

Joint replacement patients attend a pre-admission education session prior to surgery where they receive an overview of how to best prepare for surgery, what to expect during their hospital stay, and how to prepare to return home. Patients have the opportunity to bring their family or caregivers to the session so everyone involved can ask questions and receive helpful information.

Maria Ester Rodriguez, RN, BSN Project Manager, works with patient who are planning to have joint replacement surgery and those that have already had the surgery. “Since the start of the Joint Replacement Institute, we have received positive feedback from the patients that have gone through the program. Patients continuously report that anxiety is reduced, they are better prepared for the surgery and know what to expect,” said Rodriguez. “Patients especially enjoy that family or friends are invited to be involved in their care and education as their “Coach”. Our Joint Replacement Institute was developed as a comprehensive and progressive course of treatment to aide you in getting ready for surgery and your recovery,” added Rodriguez.

Our team of physical therapists at the Rehabilitation Center work patiently to rehabilitate patients both before and after surgery. “Our goal is to work with each patient utilizing best practice models to develop personalized therapy plans to get patients back to normal functioning as quickly as possible,” said Elsa Saenz, PTA who teaches the physical therapy section of the preoperative class. Through the program, experienced therapists provide hands-on instruction for personal care, a written home exercise program in addition to gait training and stair management.

Within one day of surgery, patients are up and out of bed, and begin to walk with the aid of nurses and therapists. A loved one is encouraged to stay with the patient to “coach” them through the recovery process. The patient’s coach is encouraged to spend as much time as possible with the patient to assist with physical therapy, offer moral support and urge them to participate to the fullest. This coach can then provide the needed support to the patient when they are discharged directly home.

Typically, joint replacement patients at Mission Regional Medical Center will stay in the hospital for three days, and unlike many other programs, are discharged directly home, as opposed to a sub-acute or rehabilitation facility. This ensures decreased risk of postoperative complications, such as infection, falls, or injury. Research has proven that the best recovery setting is at home surrounded by loved ones with the assistance of nurse and therapy specialists under the supervision of the surgeon. However, options are available when assistance is not available at home. Regardless, patients are placed in the optimum place for the best results.

In 2009 and 2011, HealthGrades, the nation’s leading independent healthcare ratings company, ranked Mission Regional Medical Center in the top 10% of hospitals in the nation for Clinical Excellence in Joint Replacement. The distinction awarded the hospital the HealthGrades Joint Replacement Excellence Award™.

For more information on joint replacement surgery or for referral to an orthopedic surgeon, call the Joint Replacement Institute at Mission Regional Medical Center at 956-323-1977.