The Joint Replacement Club is located behind closed doors on the 7th floor of Cape Fear Valley Medical Center. This is to keep patients with serious illnesses or infections away from the Joint Replacement Club patients to reduce the risk of infection. Joint replacement surgery is not performed on sick patients, so patients do not wear hospital gowns or pajamas.
Each morning the patient is assisted to get up, get washed and change into comfortable clothes – shorts and T-shirt or sweatpants and sweatshirt depending on their personal comfort level. The patient will sit up in a recliner for breakfast and then go to group physical therapy. All patients participate in group therapy for an hour in the morning and in the afternoon. Participants are also encouraged to walk when they are not in therapy.
To make the experience more fun, the Joint Replacement Club has adopted a stock car type of racing theme, called the “Race 2 Recovery.” On one wall in the Joint Replacement Club is a magnetic board with a racetrack on it. Distances are mapped in feet, and participants move their magnetic stock cars around the track depending on how far they walk each day. This engenders some competition and camaraderie among the Joint Replacement Club members.
The patient is called the Driver in the Race 2 Recovery. He or she will get a Joint Replacement Club T-shirt. The family member or close friend who is helping the patient is called the Chief Mechanic. He or she will get a Chief Mechanic button to wear. The nurses, physical therapists and other healthcare team members are called the Pit Crew.
Joint Replacement Clubs have been shown to improve outcomes, increase patient satisfaction and reduce length of stay. But patients find the experience is just more enjoyable.