HSS Logo

Preparing to Return Home


The majority of patients who undergo a joint replacement are usually discharged from the Hospital within one or two nights after the surgery and many of them are able to return to their home environment.

How the Hospital Can Help

As soon as you decide to have a joint replacement, you and members of your support system must look ahead and start planning for discharge and home recovery. Preparing enables you to concentrate on your main task – getting well. To help you plan for discharge and home recovery, the Hospital’s Case Management Department is available at your request.

A case manager is available to you prior to surgery to address any concerns you may have about your discharge from the Hospital. The case manager will review the alternatives available to you based on your medical condition, home and healthcare needs, care arrangements you have already made, geographic location, insurance coverage and financial situation.

Some of the ways the Hospital social work case manager can assist you include:

  • Helping you to cope with illness or disability.
  • Discharge planning.
  • Long-term planning.
  • Assessing your eligibility and advising you on benefits you may be entitled to, including SSI (Supplemental Security Income), SSD (Social Security Disability), Medicaid and New York State Disability.   

The case manager will discuss your post-discharge needs in consultation with your surgeon and other members of your primary healthcare team. Your involvement is essential in formulating a discharge plan that will suit your needs.

The Hospital’s Case Management Department (tel: 212.606.1271) is available to assist you in planning for your discharge and home recovery.

Additional Discharge Instructions

You may have physical therapy at home if it is prescribed by your surgeon. If so, the physical therapist will come to your home and will advance your exercises and walking program as tolerated.

Gradually increase your walking distance daily. A daily walking program on level surfaces is an essential component of your home exercise program. Avoid hills, steep ramps and uneven surfaces.

Once your mobility has improved, you may consider continuing physical therapy at an outpatient physical therapy center to continue to increase strength and endurance and optimize your function.

Contact your surgeon or physical therapist regarding when to stop using an assistive device.