Published on May 30, 2018

Joint Center in Smithfield offers new feature

A car simulator, the new feature of The Joint Center’s rehab room. Getting into the car to go home may be one of the most daunting tasks following joint replacement surgery. But thanks to a special piece of equipment, patients at Johnston Health in Smithfield are learning how to climb in and out without hurting themselves.

A car simulator, complete with bucket seats, seat belts and even a steering wheel, is a new feature of The Joint Center’s rehab room. During a recent open house, local orthopedists were among the 50 or so guests to check out the simulator and the room’s new decorative finishes, including nature scenes aimed at inspiring patients.

“The car simulator is a great tool for teaching patients how to position themselves to protect that new shoulder, knee or hip,” says Christy Collins, the nurse manager who oversees the joint replacement program at the hospital. “We’re pleased to be able to offer this form of therapy to our patients.”

The Johnston Health Foundation, along with Deacon Jones Auto Group and Ricky Young of Young’s Auto Center & Salvage, contributed toward the purchase of the car simulator. It even has a faux license plate to prompt patients to “GTMVN.”

In addition to rehab therapy, The Joint Center holds classes for patients prior to their surgery. During the two-hour sessions, the patient navigator explains what to expect, how to prepare, and how to care for one’s self at home. “We know from experience and data that patients have the best outcomes when they know ahead of time what to expect,” Collins says.

Collins says The Joint Center pulls together, on one campus, everything the patient needs, from resources and information, to surgery in modern operating rooms, to specialized care and rehab. “We want our patients to have the best possible outcomes, and an exceptional experience while in our care,” she adds. “We love seeing them get back on their feet, and back to enjoying their lives.”

Pictured: The Joint Center at Johnston Health in Smithfield has added a car simulator to its inpatient rehab room. The simulator, which enables patients (who have had joint replacement surgery) to practice getting in and out of a car, was a gift of the Johnston Health Foundation. Also contributing toward the purchase was Deacon Jones Auto Group and Ricky Young of Young’s Auto Center & Salvage. Seated in the car is Trey Jones of the Deacon Jones family, and at left and right are Ricky Young, who also serves on the Johnston Health Board of Directors, and Scott Tart, vice chair of the foundation’s board of directors.

Learn more about the Johnston Health Joint Center and Joint Adventure.