What Outpatient Therapy is Like at Knute Nelson
Sep 22, 2020 by Danielle Andersen
As you prepare for your knee or joint replacement, your biggest goal is recovering as quickly and effectively as possible. At Knute Nelson, we offer the highest quality of care and recovery because it’s more than just about healing that specific joint; it’s about getting you back on your feet to do things you never thought you’d be able to do again.
This is what our outpatient therapy program is all about. We’ll explore what outpatient therapy is, what you can expect during your outpatient therapy sessions and the outcomes you will work towards.
What is Outpatient Therapy?
Outpatient therapy for joint replacements typically includes physical and occupational therapy. In physical therapy, a physical therapist will guide you through stretches and light exercises designed to strengthen your knee, hip or other joint. If you’re receiving occupational therapy, a therapist will have you work on self-care activities like dressing, getting up and down steps and cooking for yourself.
Outpatient Therapy as Part of the Therapy Continuum
Outpatient therapy is the third step in Knute Nelson’s therapy continuum following home care therapy. In home care therapy, you’re working with a therapist to help you get strong enough where you can walk around the house or take a stroll outside with your grandkids.
Once you are no longer homebound and in need of at-home services, you will transition into outpatient therapy at our Nelson Wellness Center at Grand Arbor.
“This is where you’re able to tolerate a little bit more of the higher-level activities where it’s maybe more focused on your balance,” Brady Swenson, Therapy Director at Knute Nelson explained. “You’re kind of in the phase where you need to still improve your range of motion, since it’s still not 100 percent.”
Since you may still be in the early stages of recovery or halfway through, the exercise equipment and our unique warm water pool can help you make larger strides in recovery that you can’t do in home care.
What You Will Experience in Outpatient Therapy
When you enter outpatient therapy, our therapists will talk to you about your goals. Are you trying to get back on the golf course or do you just want to be able to walk around the house comfortably and be able to cook meals for yourself when you need to?
Knowing your goals allows your therapist to personalize your recovery plan and encourage you when you need it. Your goals also serve as a motivator for you, since there is a greater personal accountability in outpatient therapy than short-term rehab and home care.
“In the outpatient setting, the patient becomes responsible for their own improvements,” Brady explained. “We basically coach them or give them the tools, and we show them what they need to do. Since they aren’t being seen every day or multiple times a day like they might in a short-term rehab facility, they have to take the responsibly on themselves to do it and improve.”
During your weekly therapy sessions, your therapist will direct you to use specific cardio and weight equipment in the full gym. Our facility also offers individual therapy rooms that you may use for more specific exercises or one-on-one attention. Our therapists will provide you with wraps and compression for lymphedema treatment. You’ll wear these bandages to control fluids in your upper and lower extremities as you stretch and exercise.
You will also have access to our warm water pool. Some exercises or activities may be easier in the water than in the gym, so your therapist will have you complete those in the pool where you’ll feel more comfortable.
As you progress through outpatient therapy, you’ll be able to join specific wellness programming with a trainer to continue building your strength, balance and mobility. During these one- or two-a-week sessions, a trainer will set up a circuit routine with specific exercises and activities that you’ll complete. Your trainer may adjust your routine or increase your reps over time to challenge you and help you grow stronger.
Outcomes of Outpatient Therapy
As comfortable as it may be to be at home, especially when you’re not feeling your best after surgery, you can’t really enjoy home if you can’t move around freely or do what you enjoy. You’ll experience improved muscle strength, balance and mobility in outpatient therapy, but these specific improvements all add up to a better quality of life at home.
The most valuable outcome of outpatient therapy after your joint replacement is your independence. When you participate in your outpatient therapy sessions and practice the exercises your therapist gives you at home, you’ll be able to golf again, chase after your grandkids again or do other activities you had trouble doing before surgery.
All it takes is you committing to your therapy program and letting the Knute Nelson outpatient therapy team push your recovery forward. “People don’t want to do it because it hurts and that’s understandable,” Brady said. “But what people don’t realize is that by doing nothing, it only gets worse. They may not get past that point where they can play pickleball again or play with their grandkids. If you’re going to do the surgery, you’re going to want to go through all the pieces of the puzzle if you want to achieve why you had the surgery in the first place.”
Experience Compassionate Assisted Living at Knute Nelson
At Knute Nelson, our therapy continuum can help you recover effectively from your joint replacement and improve your quality of life. You may even be able to participate in activities or do things you never thought you’d be able to do again due to the pain or discomfort you felt before surgery.
Outpatient therapy can transform your life and leave you healthier, stronger and happier than you were before treatment. Please contact us to learn more about our outpatient therapy program and continuum of therapy.