An important part of improving hip and knee replacement satisfaction among patients I believe falls in the rehabilitation of the patient to allow them to retain their original range of motion. While making them more comfortable prior to surgery is important, being comfortable and confident with the results holds more weight in patient satisfaction.

This can be done through increased education with what physical therapy can do for a person, and that it is necessary if the patient wants to continue to live the way they did before the surgery. In addition, I think awareness about what a patient can do at home by themselves will show a significant rise in appreciation as well as satisfaction with the results.

I say this because I once broke my finger and it required surgery and pins to reset the bone. After two months in a cast and the removal of the pins, I had almost no ability to move my once broken finger. I was going to physical therapy about twice a week, and my therapist couldn’t stress the importance of doing exercises on my own enough.

She consistently told me that physical therapy was more like class, and that I had to go home and do my homework in order for class to be beneficial for me. While constantly dedicating time to finger exercises was annoying for a middle school kid, it paid off and I regained full range of motion in my finger.

I understand hip and knee replacement is much more significant than a broken finger, but I believe the concept remains the same. If orthopedic surgeons stress physical therapy as much as my therapist did, I believe patient satisfaction would rise significantly. Also, increased attention to the patient, making them feel important rather than just another number, would increase satisfaction. It’s the same reason companies choose smaller suppliers; they have increased attention making them feel more important.

If orthopedic surgeons can manage to give patients their undivided attention as well as provide them with a variety of options for physical therapy in addition to a multitude of exercises they can do at home to increase their range of motion, patients will feel not only important, but as if the surgeon cares about them and for them specifically. All of this will increase patient satisfaction; even if their full potential range of motion isn’t achieved they will feel as if the surgeons truly did as much as they possibly could to help them.

Patient satisfaction may not be improved through the actual surgery and replacement of the hip and knee in itself, but more so toward the attention that a patient receives before and after the surgery is completed. People grow angry and aggravated while in hospitals not because they aren’t receiving proper treatment, but because they sometimes feel as though they aren’t receiving the attention that they deserve. Increasing attention in waiting rooms as well as before and after surgery will increase satisfaction as well as increase appreciation for orthopedic surgeons.

2016 Scholarship Finalist

Blake H

Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania

The final question on the application was an essay question.
The essay question was:

How can orthopedic surgeons doing hip and knee replacement surgery improve patient satisfaction?

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