An integral component of the MacNeal Center for Advanced Spine and Joint Care is having patients select a friend or family member to function as their coach. Coaches are trained throughout the entire process, side by side with patients. They provide moral support and encouragement every step of the way, contributing to a rapid recovery.
Once spine surgery or joint replacement is elected, patients are introduced to the program in two hour pre-operative education classes, which are held in English and Spanish. During the classes, patients and their coaches learn about pre-operative needs. They are also introduced to the daily routine that they will be expected to follow while on the unit. Patients will learn some pre-conditioning (strengthening) exercises they can begin before surgery in order to improve their outcomes.
Discharge planning and preparing the home for safety, comfort and recovery of the patient are also covered in the classes. The care team addresses many other pertinent issues, such as performing post-surgery strengthening exercises, dealing with potential post-operative complications, and using assistive devices in the home.
The care coordinator plays a very special role before, during and after surgery. He or she is the link between the patient, the family and the care team and helps ensure continuity of care every step of the way. The care coordinator takes the lead in guiding the patient through the process that begins in the surgeon’s office and continues in the recovery process. He or she also serves as a valuable resource for the patient well after discharge.
Patients will receive a patient guidebook at their surgeon’s office. It is an important tool, providing key patient information and answers many questions. The guidebook provides specific instructions issued by the surgeon and the care team. Patients learn what to expect before surgery, while in the hospital, and after discharge.
During their hospital stay, patients should bring the guidebook to keep vital information at their fingertips. It is also a tool for clinicians to document patient progress during rehabilitation.