Healthcare Insider Blog

The important role of a DPT in the pre-surgery education process

  • Healthcare Alvernia

Every year, approximately 700,000 knee replacement procedures are performed in the U.S. — a number expected to grow to 3.48 million by the year 2030, according to an UpToDate study.

Many patients enter into procedures such as knee or hip replacements without a complete, comprehensive understanding of what to expect on the road to recovery post-surgery. That’s where physical therapists come in.

A study at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York City showed that patients going into joint replacement surgeries benefit greatly from a one-on-one, in person education session given to them by a PT or DPT on what to expect, as well as access to a customized, informational web portal before surgery.

Researchers followed 126 patients, median age of 61, who underwent hip or knee replacement surgery. They were split into two even, randomized groups, both receiving a group education session prior to their surgery.

Members of one group received a one-on-one educational session with a PT in addition to the group class, and were granted access to the informational web portal that included videos and could be viewed on a tablet or mobile device.

Members of the other group attended only the standard group class and received a print booklet about what to expect after joint replacement, with no further education.

“Significantly more patients who attended the extra one-on-one counseling session with the physical therapist before surgery indicated that they were better prepared to leave the hospital after surgery and were overall more satisfied with the preoperative education they received,” said lead investigator Rupali Joshi, PhD, PT.

“Almost 97 percent of these patients accessed the informational web portal, and all of them said they would recommend it for patients undergoing the same procedure.”

In addition, nearly 70 percent of those who did not receive the additional, personal education session from a PT or web portal access expressed they believe they could have benefited from more pre-surgery education.

Researchers express not only how this information should be delivered, but the timing of the delivery — saying that providing this education to a patient prior to surgery, rather than after surgery, makes a great difference.

“After surgery, patients may be dealing with issues such as fatigue, discomfort or anxiety, and it is not the most opportune time to give them information about the road ahead,” explained study author Amar Ranawat, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at HSS. “With the face-to-face information session and user-friendly web portal, they can receive and retain much of the information prior to surgery. Many patients feel more confident knowing what to expect.”

Alvernia DPT students will learn to properly communicate and educate patients both pre- and post-surgery through courses such as DPT 505: Education and Communication in Physical Therapy. In this class students will participate in active learning experiences to learn how to effectively educate others using culturally appropriate teaching methods.

Effective November 12, 2014, Alvernia University has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314; phone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org). Candidacy is not an accreditation status nor does it assure eventual accreditation. Candidate for Accreditation is a pre-accreditation status of affiliation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that indicates the program is progressing toward accreditation.

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