You've heard the old saying there's strength in numbers?
No one knows that better than Alegent Health. For years, they've been getting patients like Naomi, Donna and countless others back on their feet – back to the life they've been missing out on due to injured or deteriorated joints.
It starts with surgery and ends in a camp-like setting for joint replacement therapy. But unlike traditional therapy, these patients aren't going it alone. Here they bend their knees and work their hips together.
C. Kent Boese, M.D., performs most of the hip and knee replacement surgeries at Alegent Health Mercy Hospital. One hour in the operating room and his work is done.
"I tell my patients that I have the easy part and they have the hard part," he explains.
But after 17 years, Dr. Boese recognized that advancements in technology only get the patients so far. Group therapy – or patients motivating other patients – was the next step.
"We found that people recover faster and have a more pleasant experience doing it as a group," Dr. Boese says.
Debbie Miller agrees. At first she thought the shared experience concept was odd, but one day post-surgery she's already a believer.
"I think when you see other people trying, you try as hard as they do," she says. "It gives you incentive to try harder, especially when you see older people. If they can do it, I can do it."
All five Alegent Health metro area hospitals offer Joint Replacement Therapy. Baby boomers make up the bulk of the patients. But whether you're in your 20s or your 80s, when you're just out of surgery, the focus is on wellness.
"Sick people sit around all day in hospital gowns," says Marcia Weis, BSN-ONC, an orthopaedic certified nurse and program coordinator for the Mercy Hospital Joint Replacement Center. "These people don't. They get dressed. They put on make-up and they work together."
"Everything is better with support," explains Becky Backer, BSN-ONC, also an orthopaedic certified nurse and team lead at the Mercy Hospital Joint Replacement Center. "There's not many things I can think of that are better done alone. You need people to motivate you, to have fun with. It makes it a lot easier."
Joint replacement therapy won't take away the pain of surgery, but it does help patients focus on what's ahead: a better quality of life.
Dr. Boese and Marcia did wonders with both of my elderly parents. He got my Mom up and walking again with her last surgery, when I thought she would be bedridden for the rest of her life. Marcia was always so helpful when we had questions. All the JRC people are the best!!