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Rapid Recovery

Home Health Team Delivers Comprehensive Care to Hip Replacement Patient

In the 1980s, hip replacement patients used to stay in the hospital for 17 days, and that was for the uncomplicated cases in healthy people. Today, most patients undergoing a total hip replacement stay just about three days, according to James Kudrna, MD, PhD.

William Blair has had both hips replaced in the last four years, and he knows firsthand the rigors of rehabilitation and the joy associated with a return to an active and pain-free life following surgery.

Blair credits not only his surgeon Dr. Kudrna, whom he describes as an “ultimate advocate for his patients,” but also the entire care team including the NorthShore Home Health nurses and physical therapists with his successful recovery. Dr. Kudrna and the team made the transition from hospital to home safe and easy as Blair worked to regain strength and mobility.

An avid cyclist, Blair reached the point before his hip surgery where it was a chore just to get his leg up and over the wheel to get on the bike. And forget keeping up with his grandchildren. Now, the 61-year-old longtime general manager of Hackney’s on Harms restaurant is back to cycling, looking forward to his next trip out west to visit grandchildren and ski, and is no longer restricted by pain and lack of mobility.

While the first procedure might have been a bit daunting, Blair said Dr. Kudrna inspired immediate confidence and his Home Health nurses and physical therapists were invaluable in keeping him comfortable and moving forward with a speedy recovery.

The convenience factor of having nurses check the wound, help with pain management and answer any questions, and having physical therapists come to his home to instruct and assist in stretching and strengthening exercises was great, said Blair. “My wife didn’t have to drive me to appointments,” he said. “And they were always professional and friendly and pushed me to do as much as I could manage.”

Dr. Kudrna, who holds an academic appointment at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, was asked some years ago with his colleagues to streamline the joint replacement program. He knows just how critical quality home care is to his patients’ healing and return to independence. A renowned physician, Dr. Kudrna routinely operates on patients from around the region and across the country.

“Every patient is unique and the environment they live in is unique as well, which makes it a challenge for home health providers. We have an outstanding group of people at NorthShore,” said Dr. Kudrna.

“We’re part of a team, with the patient at the center of that team,” said NorthShore Home Health Nurse Mary Abiera, RN, who helped care for Blair. “It’s great to be a part of the process that helps people get back to their regular lives.”

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