MHFS Offers a Pre-Operative Joint Wellness Class


While surgery can be a stressful and sometimes frightening event, Methodist Hospital for Surgery (MHFS) is working to take the uncertainty out of joint replacement surgery by offering a pre-operative class to its patients. This unique class, offered since June 2012, has served more than 400 patients and their families.

The class was created based largely on the idea that total joint replacement surgery is a well-person’s surgery; these patients are not having surgery because they are sick or have a life-threatening emergency. Instead, they are electing to do surgery to improve their quality of life. Since these surgeries typically take place with plenty of notice, patients and their families have time to prepare and have all their questions answered; this means patients go into their surgery knowing exactly what to expect.

During the class, patients and their coaches learn how to prepare for at-home recovery after surgery, what to expect from MHFS over the course of their stay, and what happens when they are discharged. Participating patients will have all of their questions answered, and they’re able to meet other patients facing similar orthopedic surgery. Each class lasts between 1.5-2 hours, which is a minimal time commitment considering the payoffs.

The class is free for both patients and their “coaches.” MHFS encourages patients to bring a friend or family member as a coach who will be part of the recovery process. By attending the class, the coach is able to be more involved in supporting the patient and is able to better encourage them after discharge.

Candace Callegan, the MHFS Joint and Spine Coordinator, has said the patient feedback about the class has been nothing but positive. Two comments the staff hear most often are that the entire process “happened just like you said it would,” and “I feel so much better and less nervous since I came to the class.” These patients have decreased anxiety going into their surgery and the surgical experience overall becomes a more positive one because of their personal level of preparation.

This decreased anxiety prior to surgery is why the MHFS physicians and staff feel so strongly about the importance of the pre-op class; patients who are better prepared typically do better post-operatively. By being prepared and knowing exactly what to expect, patient stays are more pleasant and they have an overall better experience.

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