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Home Discharge After Joint Surgery OK for Those Living Alone

THURSDAY, Feb. 1, 2018 -- Patients living alone can have a safe and manageable recovery when discharged directly home after total joint arthroplasty, according to a study published online Jan. 17 in the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Andrew N. Fleischman, M.D., from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, and colleagues compared 90-day complications and unplanned clinical events, as well as functional outcomes, patient satisfaction, pain relief, and return to daily function, among 910 consecutive patients who were discharged directly home and were living alone (138 participants) or with others (631 participants) after primary, unilateral total hip or total knee arthroplasty.

The researchers found that it was more common for patients living alone to stay an additional night in the hospital and to utilize more home health services. However, complications and unplanned clinical events were similar between patients living alone and those living with others. Similarly, there were no significant differences in functional outcomes, pain relief, or satisfaction scores between the two groups after 90 days.

"Patients living alone had a safe and manageable recovery when discharged directly home after total joint arthroplasty," the authors write. "Extending the initial hospitalization and providing home health services on a selected basis may be a more cost-effective approach than routine discharge to an inpatient rehabilitation facility."

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Posted: February 2018