Henry Butt's Knee Replacement Story
Henry Butts of Princeton is not the type to sit around. He enjoys watching his grandson play baseball, likes feeding the cattle on his son’s farm, and doesn’t mind climbing the ladder to clean out the gutters. But a stiff knee from a combination of arthritis, bursitis and gout, had been throwing him off his game. “I was worn out from trying to keep my balance,” he says. “I felt like I was going to fall.”
But three days after joint replacement surgery at Johnston Health in Smithfield, Butts was up on a new knee, taking a few steps, and heading to a session of rehabilitation before going home to continue his recovery. Nowadays, it’s just that quick.
That’s no surprise to Butts, who is 71, and retired from the Army. He took The Joint Adventure class before surgery, and learned what to expect, how to prepare beforehand, and how to manage daily living activities during recovery.
“We tell them everything,” says Laura Vaughn, RN, the patient navigator for the hospital’s joint replacement program. “The more they know, the quicker they will recover, and the easier it will be.”
Within hours after the surgery, the care team gets patients up on their feet to take a few steps. And the morning afterward, they’re out of bed and dressed in their street clothes, she says. “The routine gets them ready for the day, and their first session of physical therapy.”
Vaughn says hospital stays for joint replacement surgeries have become shorter because of the advancements in surgery and pain management. The recovery at home is better for patients, too, because they’re more motivated to get back into their daily routine, she adds.
Vaughn says the personal touches make Johnston Health’s program different than others. For example, she visits patients after their surgeries, and calls them at home during their recovery. Along the way, she’s there to offer tips, support and encouragement to the patients and their families.
On the day he was going home, Butts says his experience couldn’t have been better. “The care, the service, even the food was great,” he added. “I’m looking forward to getting back to doing the things I love.”