New outpatient rehabilitation program lets knee surgery patients heal at home

Knee surgery patients across the Greater Toronto Area have a new option for outpatient rehabilitation: Bridgepoint Hospital’s Total Joint Replacement rehab program.

The program was created in response to a 2011 GTA Rehab Network report produced at the request of the Toronto Central LHIN. The goal of the report was to identify factors to enhance system-wide performance for primary, elective unilateral hip and knee total joint replacement. It was found that despite the common belief that referral to inpatient rehab reduced length of stay in acute care; the discharge destination (e.g. discharge to home versus inpatient rehab) did not account for any difference in average length of stay in acute care.

Bridgepoint’s Total Joint Replacement rehab program features:
•    An interprofessional care team which includes a physician, nurse, physiotherapist and physiotherapy assistant.
•    Individualized and detailed home exercise programs, with access to an aquatic program as needed.
•    Participation in a group rehab program that offers support twice a week for six weeks.
•    Ongoing monitoring and evaluation of pain post surgery.
•    Evaluation and recommendations for mobility aids/ home equipment as needed.

“I believe the program facilitates people getting back into the community faster,” explains Judi Savdie, physiotherapist at Bridgepoint. “They are offered a structured inter-disciplinary program where they can be assessed, monitored and treated by our team of health care professionals. Overall, I feel as though patients appreciate the routine, it helps them to know they have a structured program to attend after a major surgery. ”

Patient John Warkentin, who is currently going through the rehabilitation program agrees, “They provide instructions and forms for me to take home so that I can continue my exercises there. When I come in for my one hour intensive sessions here at Bridgepoint, they help correct my form to ensure that I’m doing the exercises correctly.”

This program will enable the Toronto Central LHIN to achieve its target of discharging  90 per cent of joint replacement patients home after surgery and receive rehabilitation on an outpatient basis. This also gives patients the opportunity to heal in the comfort of their own home.

Outpatient rehab benefits not only Bridgepoint patients but the health care system as a whole. “By redirecting primary unilateral joint replacements to outpatient instead of inpatient rehab, we are freeing up inpatient capacity for patients that typically wait in acute care for access to rehab,” notes Michael Gekas, Bridgepoint’s Director of Ambulatory Care and Business Operations. “For example, our inpatient orthopedic team is now equipped to take more hip fracture patients, and this will have a positive impact on Alternate Level of Care wait times in acute care.”

Bridgepoint’s ability to offer such services will only expand when the Christine Sinclair Ambulatory Care Centre opens in the new Bridgepoint Hospital in 2013. The Centre will provide expanded, enhanced facilities for Bridgepoint’s ambulatory care program, offering patients “one-stop-shopping” for therapies and services.

“While many hospitals are closing their doors to outpatients, Bridgepoint has expanded its outpatient capacity and has become a key system player that facilitates the delivery of best clinical practices,” says Gekas.

For more information on the outpatient Total Joint Replacement rehabilitation, visit

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