Frequently Asked Questions
May family members stay overnight?
Our hospital rooms are not designed to accommodate visitors overnight. Family members that wish to stay locally can make arrangements to stay at one of the area hotels. Visit www.jeff ersonhospital.org or call 215-955-7777 for more information. The Martin building on the corner of 11th & Walnut Street has rooms available at a special “Jefferson Rate.” Please call 215-955-6479 to make arrangements. Exceptions have been made in the event a patient is a minor or acutely ill. In the event you do stay, an overnight pass must be obtained and filled out by your nurse, and approved by Security. Please ask to speak to the orthopedic charge nurse if you have any questions.
When may family/visitors see the patient after surgery?
Patients assigned to the orthopedic units in the Thompson or Pavilion buildings may await their loved ones in their assigned rooms. Patients that are assigned rooms in the Gibbon building should verify through the receptionist in the surgical family waiting area that the room is indeed available before proceeding to the floor. After the procedure it may take anywhere from 2 to 6 hours for patients to arrive on the orthopedic unit. The recovery time for each individual is different and is oft en dependent upon their response to anesthesia and pain medications. Once your loved one arrives in their room please step out of the room momentarily so that the staff members can make their initial assessment and make your family member comfortable.
May I take my own medications?
Never take your own medication(s) while you are a patient in the hospital unless you are requested to do so by your nurse. You may have been told to bring your medication(s) to the hospital in the event that our pharmacy does not stock them. Once it is verified that we do carry your specific medication(s), your medication(s) will be returned to you. We ask that you please have a family member then take these medication(s) home.
How long will I be in the hospital?
Your length of stay is dependent upon your medical status and how well you’re progressing with your physical therapy. On average, patients spend about 2 to 3 days on the orthopedic unit after joint replacement surgery, and from 1 to 3 days after spine surgery.
Where will I go after surgery?
Our goal is for all patients to go home after surgery but some patients may require a short inpatient stay in an approved rehabilitation center prior to going home. Arrangements for rehab are provided by an assigned Case Manager that will contact you after a Physical Therapist has completed their evaluation. Once discharged from Jefferson, the rehab facility is responsible for all aspects of your care and discharge to home. If you incur an issue while at the rehab facility please bring it to the attention of the supervisor there so that they may have an opportunity to resolve it.
When may I eat?
Joint replacement patients receive clear liquids postoperatively and for breakfast the day after surgery. On the first day after surgery you will receive a regular tray for lunch. If you've had spinal surgery your ability to eat is dependent upon the return of bowel function. If you require a special diet, i.e. diabetic, cardiac, an appropriate meal will be provided.
What if I have to move my bowels?
Typically patients will not move their bowels for one to two days after surgery due to decreased bowel function that often accompanies anesthesia. We will provide stool softeners and assist you to use a bedpan or commode if necessary. Patients that have had spine surgery are not to utilize bedpans.
When may I shower?
Patients may shower once their dressing has been removed and your registered nurse verifies that you may do safely (usually 24 to 48 hours after surgery).
What is Coumadin?
Coumadin is a blood thinner used to prevent blood clots. Most joint replacement patients will be instructed to take Coumadin for 4 to 6 weeks after surgery. It is necessary to obtain blood samples daily (while you're in the hospital) to regulate your Coumadin dose. Once you are home, arrangements will be made to have blood specimens drawn and a physician who monitors the results will adjust your Coumadin dose accordingly.
How often will I receive physical therapy?
You will receive an initial evaluation the day after surgery. For the next two to three days a therapist will see you twice a day. Patients scheduled to go home will be seen by an occupational therapist to review dressing and bathing. Your nurse can mobilize you and this activity is also considered to be physical therapy. Typically, hip replacement patients can get (out of bed to a chair) the day of surgery with the assistance of a nurse or therapist. Knee replacement patients are generally able to get out of bed the day after their surgery.
Where do I get the equipment I need?
Patients who are going home will receive equipment from the physical therapist. Typically, insurance companies only cover one device (walkers, canes, crutches). The occupational therapist can provide devices to assist you with bathing and dressing. Patients discharged to home after a rehab stay will receive equipment from the rehab facility based upon their evaluation.
Will I be able to use stairs in my home?
Your physical therapist will ensure that you can successfully navigate stairs prior to your discharge home. You will find that your endurance will improve once at home but it would be beneficial to have someone available to assist you for the first few days after discharge.
How do I get to the rehab facility?
Transportation can be provided by ambulance, wheelchair van or in a private vehicle. The method that is best for you is dependent upon the procedure you've had and your insurance. If you wish to verify insurance coverage you may contact your insurance company's member services and ask about nonemergency ambulance coverage. Medicare recipients do not have ambulance coverage (with few exceptions). Your social worker will discuss this information with you in more detail.
What is the difference between spine surgeries performed by an orthopedic specialist versus a neurosurgeon?
Neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons perform many of the same procedures and undergo some of the same training. However, when it comes to the spine, neurosurgeons have more extensive — and more focused — training than orthopedic surgeons receive. Because of this additional training, neurosurgeons are able to perform any type of procedure on the spine. By contrast, orthopedic surgeons do not operate on or inside the nerves of the spinal cord.
I'm not sure if I really need surgery. Will your physicians be able to help with other options?
Although our physicians are neurosurgeons, our focus is always on identifying the best possible treatment for each patient. This conservative approach means that most of our patients do not end up needing surgery at all. We routinely collaborate with our peers in other specialties throughout Jefferson and can facilitate referrals as necessary. By choosing our Spine Program, you or your loved one benefit from a single point of contact that can help you tap into a full continuum of care and capabilities.
Although I have persistent back, neck or leg pain, I still don't have a clear-cut "diagnosis." Can you help me?
Chronic pain has a negative impact on quality of life. When the source of the pain — and a resolution — cannot be identified, it is frustrating for those who suffer. We encourage you to reach out to the Jefferson Spine Program for a consultation so we can determine how we may be able to help you.
I've already visited a physician at another healthcare facility, but I'm not sure about his or her recommendation. Can the Jefferson Spine Program provide a second opinion?
Absolutely. Our Program is routinely asked to provide a second — or even third or fourth — opinion; we welcome the opportunity and appreciate the trust that our community has placed in us.
What other resources are available through Jefferson Hospital?
As a major academic medical center, Jefferson offers patients a full complement of services and expertise. The physicians of the Spine Program frequently work with traumatologists, intensivists, physiatrists, orthopedists and neurologists, as well as specialists in pain management to help our patients receive the best possible treatment.