In 2005, Our Lady of Lourdes multidisciplinary orthopedic teams began what is called Our Lady of Lourdes Joint Academy, a unit within the orthopedic surgical floor, devoted to total hip and total/partial knee replacement surgical patients.

Sally Smalik worked on the initial Joint Academy education program and today is in charge of “prehabilitation,” or preoperative screening, physical patient therapy and education and postoperative patient education for hip and knee patients. This initiative was driven by orthopedic surgeons to engage their patients in surgical and postsurgical physical exercise and therapy, in order to attain the best surgical outcomes, according to Smalik.

“The orthopedic surgeons here really encourage their hip and knee replacement patients to get screened six weeks prior to their surgery,” Smalik said. “The patients are encouraged to exercise and diet where necessary prior to their surgeries. Then postoperatively, we work to get their functional activity back as quickly as possible and we manage their expectations around pain during this process. The patients are so well-informed, their expectations for surgery are usually quite in line with their outcomes.”