Evaluation of Discharge Telephone Calls Following Total Joint Replacement Surgery

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The average length of stay for patients undergoing total joint replacement surgery at a large teaching hospital is 3 days. This requires a comprehensive discharge education plan. The purpose of this prospective quality improvement project was to evaluate patients' understanding of postoperative care at home, screen for postoperative complications, and identify inconsistencies or gaps in discharge teaching. During a 1-year evaluation period, patients who underwent total joint replacement surgery were interviewed via a telephone call following discharge to home. Patients were asked questions regarding general feeling, pain, wound appearance, edema, anticoagulation, and physical therapy. Concerns reported most frequently included medication side effects, deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis, and the use of assistive devices. The majority of patients reported receiving adequate discharge instructions. This quality improvement project has resulted in improved discharge teaching based on patients' identified needs and early intervention for the prevention of postoperative complications.

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