Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 20 : A study has recently revealed that patients who live alone can be safely discharged and sent home from a hospital to recover from hip or knee replacement surgery.
The results question the belief that patients who live alone should routinely be sent to an inpatient rehabilitation facility after total joint replacement surgery before going home.
Researchers said, “Patients living alone had a safe and manageable recovery when discharged directly home after total joint Arthroplasty.”
Andrew N. Fleischman and colleagues from The Rothman Institute, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, conducted the study.
The team examined 769 patients who were discharged and sent home after one-sided total hip or knee replacement. Of these, 138 patients were living alone for the first two weeks after surgery.
They compared complication rates and other important outcomes for patients who lived alone versus those who lived with others.
The average age was 66 for patients who were living alone and 65 for those living with others.
Patients living alone also had higher rates of in-home nursing care and physical therapy.
Nearly 90 percent of patients living alone said they would choose to be discharged and sent home again immediately after surgery. However, some of them admitted that they had problems attending to personal hygiene after doing so.
“Despite the expense and potential hazards of inpatient rehabilitation, there is a prevailing belief that patients living alone cannot be safely discharged directly home after total joint Arthroplasty,” the authors wrote.
They noted, “This prospective study provided evidence to support the safety and efficacy of direct home discharge after total joint Arthroplasty for the large majority of patients living alone, justifying this practice as a reasonable standard of routine care.”
The result is published in the journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.