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Bilateral Total Knee Replacement: A Care Partner Experience

By Mikayla McGrath

As someone who grew up in a sport heavy environment, my family is no stranger to injuries and surgeries. I’ve gone through one too many myself, and I can’t remember a year in high school where myself, or one of my sisters weren’t sidelined by an injury. Both my parents played sports in college, and we all know the rigor that intensive sports can put on the body. It came as no surprise that my dad needed a knee replacement at the young age of 55. This fall, I was able to shift my role, and come home for the holidays to help my dad prepare and recover from a Bilateral Total Knee Replacement Surgery.My role at Force on our research and partnerships team has given me the background and research validation to know that for this surgery, patients will improve by having access to Force. I’ve studied the impact of Force engagement on pain, outcomes and care experience and knew even if he only logged in a handful of times, he would have a more successful recovery.

The Bilateral Knee Replacement Surgery:

Bilateral Knee Replacement on its own is an extremely difficult surgery, never mind having one in the middle of a pandemic. We were unable to go to preoperative appointments, go to the hospital with him and visit him while he was there, or attend any other medical appointments. Through Force, we were able to virtually attend joint class with him to know what to expect, and go back and review those educational classes when we had questions on what to prepare for when he returned home. We were able to utilize telehealth to talk to his nurses on medication and discharge instructions. While he was in recovery, we viewed educational content on postoperative bathing instructions, icing instructions, and more. When he came home, the house was fully ready for him to have an optimal recovery.

The Post-Op Care Experience:

When he came home, we knew the recovery process had just begun. He was able to get onto Force right away to start stretches and light exercises and track his pain. As he was on blood-thinning medication, we had a home health nurse come to the house and ask about his pain, exercise regimen, and more. With Force, we were able to answer those questions through documented pain levels, medication, activity levels, and more.We logged onto Force daily together to complete his exercises and view any educational content prescribed each day.

“It was really hard to understand what I was supposed to be doing after surgery with everything mentioned to me during discharge instructions. It was a lot of information and I was still on pain medications. Being able to log into an application each day and have it tell me exactly what to do made the process much easier.” - Dave McGrath, Patient

2 Weeks Post-Op

After 2 weeks, he started going to outpatient physical therapy. They reviewed exercises he was doing at home and the physical therapist saw great progress with the combination of in person physical therapy and the exercise regimen he was doing at home. In recent weeks, COVID has impacted his ability to go to in-person physical therapy. By having access to Force, my mother has been able to help him with stretching exercises, ensure his form looks correct on straight leg raises and overall together ensure he is not getting behind on his progress.

“I can’t imagine what we would have done without Force. Outpatient PT clinics are short staffed with employees being pulled to help as they can with COVID and the safety and ease of doing his exercises at home with him when he has been unable to get into clinic has been a game-changer” - Kim McGrath, Spouse

7 Weeks Post-Op

At almost 7 weeks postoperative now, we couldn’t be happier with his progress. I’ve been able to be an active participant in supporting my fathers recovery through the access to Force's technology. It has been a unique experience to be on the patient side of the platform, seeing the benefits of an innovative patient engagement strategy, and I am looking forward to using this knowledge to continue to provide the best experience for our patients. Thanks Dad for letting me be a part of your recovery, and even writing about it too!

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