It’s hard to deny that the most rewarding achievements in life are generally attained through hard work and determination. This is true when it comes to our job, our extracurricular activities and our health. In today’s society, we live, play and work hard and our bodies are a reflection of this. As a result, we often experience hip, knee and shoulder injuries that cause pain and discomfort while affecting our overall quality of life.

Thankfully, technological advances have enabled doctors to perform orthopedic and joint replacement surgeries more precisely and less invasively than ever before giving us more options for a pain-free life. “In order to maximize recovery after a joint replacement, physical and occupational therapy is often recommended to ensure proper healing,” stated Melissa Graziano, PT, director of rehabilitative services for The McGuire Group, which operates five rehabilitation centers in Western New York.

If you’re considering an elective surgery, it’s wise to give yourself plenty of time to research all the rehabilitative options. This includes talking to your physician, visiting rehabilitation facilities, speaking with therapists and beginning the pre-planning process.

It’s always helpful to keep a few key elements in mind while conducting your research.

While touring the rehabilitation centers, take note of the environment. The McGuire Rehabilitation Centers feature specialized equipment as well as suites designed specifically for training in kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and laundry settings. These areas are designed to help you master the skills necessary to return back to the community safely and successfully.

Statistics show, the most effective method for recovery is through a team approach. You’ll want to choose a facility that welcomes your collaboration on a rehab plan that meets your specific needs. For example, if you want to swing a golf club as soon as possible after a joint replacement, it’s important to have a skilled professional trained in orthopedics and sports rehabilitation involved in your recovery.

At The McGuire Rehabilitation Centers, your care is fostered by experts in every aspect of healing. Rehabilitative therapists help you regain the physical stamina and range of motion needed to recover; physicians and nurses address the disease process and teach you how to manage your medications; and dieticians assist in helping you adopt healthy lifestyle changes and dietary habits if necessary. After your recovery, social workers help you transition back into the community and coordinate home-based services.

Outpatient therapy is also an important feature to consider. It’s wise to choose a facility that offers both inpatient and outpatient services. This allows you to continue your treatment upon discharge with the same team of therapists and pick up right where you left off as an inpatient.

When touring the facility and talking to the therapists, inquire as to what a typical day might be like. According to Mrs. Graziano, the therapy sessions at The McGuire Rehabilitation Centers are as personalized as the individual. “It’s important to exercise after surgery to increase strength and flexibility in your new joint and to prevent blood clots,” she stated. “You may feel uncomfortable at first, but exercising will help you to get back to your normal everyday activities sooner.”

If you’ve recently had a hip or knee replacement you will have a number of important regimens in your therapy schedule, some of which may include neuromuscular training, isometric strengthening of the thigh and buttock muscles and exercises to strengthen the hip muscles. Stationary biking or upper body cycling may be added for endurance as well. Progression of standing exercises, including walking backwards or on uneven surfaces, play an important role in improving balance as do a number of step exercises including step ups and side stepping.

If you’re deconditioned due to an accident or illness, your treatment may include a combination of physical, occupational and speech therapy. Rehabilitation will help you to get moving again, regain your strength, relearn skills or find new ways of completing tasks. “Our overall goal in therapy, no matter what your diagnosis or situation, is to help you lead as good a life as possible,” Mrs. Graziano stated.

A final factor to consider is the facility’s overall ratings both at the state and federal level. The McGuire Rehabilitation Centers continuously receive outstanding ratings from the federal government, which assesses every facility in the country. In addition, New York State recently released the latest results from its nursing home quality initiative (NHQI) which evaluated nearly 600 facilities across the state. All of The McGuire Group’s facilities finished in the first quintile, and McGuire is the only multi-facility provider in the state to have all of its facilities achieve this milestone for 4 out of 4 years.

“The ratings are important because it’s a reflection of the overall culture of quality that exists at every level within a facility” Mrs. Graziano stated. “It’s the highest quality facilities that generate the best outcomes for patients with intensive care, faster healing and less chance for problems or rehospitalization in the future.”

The McGuire Rehabilitation Centers provide rehabilitation and healing to more than 4,000 patients each year. They have experts on staff who will work with you and your doctor to pre-plan a rehabilitative stay. To learn more, visit one of the five local facilities including: Autumn View Health Care Facility in Hamburg, Garden Gate Health Care Facility in Cheektowaga, Harris Hill Nursing Facility in Williamsville, Northgate Health Care Facility in North Tonawanda and Seneca Health Care Center in West Seneca. You can also apply online at www.McGuireGroup.com or call (716) 826-2010.