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Joint Camp is a specially designed center within Carlisle Regional Medical Center devoted to helping patients achieve successful recovery after joint replacement surgery. Joint Camp is not your typical hospital experience! Read on to discover why Joint Camp is a great place to recover from knee or hip replacement surgery.
Joint Camp is an innovative program for the treatment and rehabilitation of total knee or hip replacements. The goal of joint replacement surgery is to relieve pain, restore independence, and return patients to active participation in daily activities. Joint Camp helps patients achieve this goal by emphasizing wellness and maximizing patients’ recovery efforts.
Before surgery and arriving at Joint Camp, “campers” are provided with thorough information about their surgery, Joint Camp, and recovery. Each camper receives a notebook to encourage communication about the process. The notebook is a guide that explains what to expect, what the camper will need to do to throughout the process, and how to take care of the new joint.
Joint Camp is designed to be a positive, encouraging experience. Campers enjoy private rooms in a designated area of the hospital. Joint Camp campers benefit from easy accessibility to their healthcare team and the camaraderie of other campers recovering from joint replacement surgery.
Joint Camp patients are scheduled for surgery on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. In most cases, campers leave Joint Camp no later than Friday of the same week with complete instructions on taking care of themselves and their new joints.
To help campers return to daily activities as soon as possible, patients get dressed in casual clothes the evening following their surgery or the day after. Each day, campers participate in individual therapy tailored to their specific needs, as well as group therapy where they can encourage fellow campers.
The Camper’s Role
Campers are active participants in the details of their care. The camper’s physician and the Joint Camp healthcare team answer pre- and post-operative questions and involve campers in the decision-making process. The physicians, nurses, nurse aides, and physical and occupational therapists plan and guide each camper through an individual treatment program.
Campers work hard and stay busy throughout the week. Campers are encouraged and motivated to take an active role in the recovery and rehabilitation process.
The enthusiastic Joint Camp healthcare team includes physicians, nurses, nurse aides, and physical and occupational therapists who have special expertise in working with joint replacement patients. The Joint Camp team encourages and inspires campers to do their very best and achieve the most progress they can. This experienced, compassionate team helps campers know what to expect during recovery and makes sure campers return to their daily routines in a healthy manner.
After Joint Camp
The Joint Camp experience doesn’t end when a camper is discharged. Joint Camp staff help coordinate the care campers receive when they leave camp. Campers can attend monthly lectures about knee and hip pain, and also receive newsletters containing the latest information on arthritis and caring for prosthetic joints.
"Joint Camp has been a great asset to the orthopedic surgeons who perform joint replacements at Carlisle Regional Medical Center. Patients become much more comfortable with the surgical experience when they have the opportunity to tour the camp before their surgery and meet others going through the same process. Joint replacement can be a scary process for patients and it eases their minds to know they will be cared for by a staff of nurses and therapists dedicated to making their stay as comfortable and productive as possible. We have seen the benefits of this team approach with a lower infection risk due to private rooms, decreased discomfort with cutting edge pain management protocols, and quicker return to regular activities by starting physical therapy exercises prior to surgery. I believe the development of Joint Camp has greatly improved the joint replacement experience and am proud that Carlisle Regional was the first to bring this concept to the region."
~ Michael Oplinger, MD, orthopedic surgeon with Appalachian Orthopedic Center, Ltd. in Carlisle
What Campers Say About Joint Camp:
"My apprehension was quickly replaced by a stress-free four days. The nurses are without a doubt the most caring people I’ve ever met in a hospital situation."
"The care was very good, the therapy was good and the fellowship with other campers was very helpful. Joint Camp should continue for a long time – it really helps with the healing process."
"Thank you for all you have ever done for me to make my life so complete again. You all are dedicated to helping all you treat."
"I was blessed by good campers in all the rooms, so it was a jolly group. Rehab is always a concern, but this group of nurses knew how to get me motivated to do my best and because of that attitude I was able to accomplish my goals."
"It’s nice to see all the nurses who had the patience to see us through the bad days. Great to see how well everyone is walking with their new hips and knees."
"Everyone was so nice. We were up and having therapy the next day. Actually, it wasn’t as scary as I had expected. Everyone – nurses, therapists and other patients – were so friendly."
Camp Not Just for Kids
Joint Camp is the most unique element of the only comprehensive joint replacement program in South Central Pennsylvania. Since implementation in 2004, Joint Camp has helped hundreds of patients navigate the joint replacement process through pre-operative information sessions, and individualized and group rehabilitation therapy after surgery and follow-up once camp concludes. Harold “Butch” Bricker of Carlisle appreciates the value of Joint Camp twice as much as most patients, because he has attended on two separate occasions. The 61-year-old retired educator and part-time student teacher supervisor at Penn State University had both knees replaced in a two-year span, thanks to arthritis and injuries from playing college football and living an active life.
After medication and cortisone shots proved unsuccessful at alleviating pain, Butch had his left knee replaced in 2007 and the right one in 2009. A week or two before each operation, Joint Camp began with an information sessionin which Julie Miller, MSPT, acute care physical therapist at Carlisle Regional and a former student of Butch’s at Cumberland Valley HighSchool in Mechanicsburg, explained the operation and provided Butch with a 3-ring binder detailing everything he needed to know about knee replacement.
“Patients are active, not passive, participants in Joint Camp,” Miller says. “We expect them to study their binders and know what exercises to complete pre- and post-operatively so they’re readyfor each step in the recovery process.”
After surgery,patients stay in a section of the hospital dedicated tojoint replacement patients and are encouraged to dress in their regular, comfortable clothes when able. Skilled physical and occupational therapists begin working with patients individually and in groups the day after surgery to help them regain mobility and function. When Joint Camp concludes two or three days after a patient’s operation, the staff helps coordinate the care he or she will receive after leaving camp.
Walking the Links Again
Knee replacement and Joint Camp have made big differences in Butch’s life. Whenever the golf lover gets out on the course these days, he’s able to walk at least half the course before using a golf cart.
“A special thank you to the staff at Carlisle Regional. From admittance to Joint Camp, the personal and specialized care they—especially Therapist Julie Miller and Nurse Samantha Strouse — provided made me feel like I wasn’t a number,” Butch says. “I particularly enjoyed the sense of camaraderie that came with undergoing rehab with patients in the same situation as me. Joint Camp was a wonderful experience, and I couldn’t be more pleased with my outcomes.”
Another Happy Patient
“I had the opportunity to attend the Joint Camp at Carlisle Regional Medical Center in order to recover from a total hip replacement. I can’t say enough about the wonderful doctors, nurses and staff that cared for me on a 24/7 schedule for a full week. The personal attention and round-the-clock care I received was outstanding.”
—Robert Gerard, patient