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Orthopedic 'Joint Camp' aims to reduce patients' anxieties

Joint Camp at St. Luke's Hospital helps reduce anxiety by showing patients what to expect before, during, and after orthopedic surgery. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

A program at St. Luke's Hospital helps reduce anxiety by showing patients what to expect before, during, and after orthopedic surgery.

"My knee had a lot of pain," 73-year-old Donna Farlow explained. "I have no cartilage in my (knee), so it was bone on bone... and, so, I was limping."

"Us old Baby Boomers are outliving our bones," remarked Loretta Pack, an advanced practice registered nurse at St. Luke's Hospital.

More and more patients like Farlow are requiring orthopedic surgery, so the hospital offers "Joint Camp" before the procedure.

"It's a great opportunity to teach the patients what to expect," explained Allison Snyder, a registered nurse and the camp's coordinator.

Typically, a Joint Camp takes three to four hours to complete and educates patients what they will likely experience before, during and after surgery.

At one session, Farlow learned how to safely get in and out of a car, just like she will do when discharged.

The importance of outpatient physical therapy is also stressed.

"When they come to Joint Camp, they may be limping all the way through it," Pack said. "They may not be able to get all the way through it. They may have to get a wheelchair, and to see them walk out of here after surgery is absolutely remarkable."

"The older you get, things can be more difficult and limiting, and you don't want to live like that if you don't have to," Farlow added.

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