The Trail Ride: Rapid Recovery Joint Program

About the Program

Scott & White Trail Ride Rapid Recovery Joint Program

The Trail Ride: Rapid Recovery Joint Program is an innovative recovery program designed to get you back on your feet and active within three days of your total joint replacement surgery by providing you with therapies and techniques you can do at home to help you achieve balance, strength and mobility safely and effectively.

“Twenty years ago, hip patients stayed one week or longer and wouldn’t even get out of bed for four or five days after surgery. Now they get out of bed the same day of surgery within a few hours after leaving the operating table,” says Christine Payne, RN, C, ONC, Coordinator of the Rapid Recovery Joint Program.

To participate in the Rapid Recovery Joint Program, you must be selected by your surgeon, be in otherwise good heath and have a positive attitude toward working hard toward recovery.

Benefits of the program include:

  • Pre-op class - Before surgery, you'll attend a class to learn what to expect before, during and after your total joint replacement surgery. At the class, you’ll receive activity goals for progress you should make in the hospital, discharge instructions for leaving the hospital and information about the kinds of exercises you’ll be expected to do at home. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask questions.
  • Personalized assessment by a physical therapist - After your surgery, you’ll have an interview with a physical therapist, who will assess your therapy needs based on how your home is set up and your mobility post-surgery. When your therapist considers you ready, you’ll go to physical therapy in the gym down the hospital hall twice a day for at least 30 minutes. Knee replacement patients will do one set of exercises, while hip replacement patients do a separate set. You’ll be working with a physical therapist on safely bending and stretching.
  • Occupational therapy - An occupational therapist will assist you in learning how to do your daily activities, such as how to stand to brush your teeth, how to bend over to put on your socks or how to slip in and out of the tub or shower. You’ll also learn how to step over a threshold and, if you have stairs in your home, you’ll practice on a set of steps with and without handrails.
  • Home consultation with a case manager - You’ll meet with a case manager who will discuss what equipment you’ll need when you get home. The equipment will be delivered to you before you leave the hospital. Case Managers are also available to assist with setting up physical therapy (if applicable) at home after discharge from the hospital, or arranging placement to other rehabilitation facilities (if applicable).

Support on the Trail to Recovery

Our western-themed "Trail Ride" makes each patient the trail boss of his or her own recovery. Patients can set their own pace as we chart their progress through the program. In addition, friends and family members get involved as “scouts” to help encourage their loved ones to finish the trail ride on time.

“We want this to be a team effort — the patient, the patient’s family and friends and the healthcare providers,” said Payne. “A patient’s spouse, son or daughter, or good friend needs to be involved in their recovery, so we have created a way to involve them as the ‘scout’ to coach and encourage the patient through recuperation and improved mobility.”

In addition to being "wrangled" by their friends and family, the staff hopes some friendly competition among patients helps them progress through the program more quickly.

“The patients are able to push each other, and they measure their progress against fellow patients,” Payne said. “They help encourage each other to finish their ‘trail ride’ on time.


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