Francine Correale needed a little help getting on her feet.
Thanks to the Intensive Rehab program from the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, she was back on them a lot sooner than she expected.
The 68-year-old Pelham Gardens resident had long suffered knee pain from chronic arthritis.
Correale dealt with it because she couldn’t afford to lose time at work to ecover from knee surgery..
After finally retiring from her job as a Co-op City school teacher, she underwent total knee replacement surgery in May.
“It was actually my surgeon who suggested that I use the Visiting Nurse Service,” Correale said. “He told me I was able to go home right after surgery and the therapist would come to my house immediately, rather than me having to go to a facility.
“I really like the idea of someone coming over better. I am a believer that when you are home you heal better and more quickly. You have your own things, your own bed.”
She said she jumped for joy – so to speak – that the rehab program helped her recover so quickly.
“The Intensive Rehab program from the Visiting Nurse Service Of New York is the program of choice for those that have undergone joint replacement surgery,” said Joe Gallagher, its manager of rehab education.
“Our physical and occupational therapists are trained to provide quality care to this population of orthopedic patients. Our program has received 100% satisfaction among those that have received it.”
Gallagher said many who have received therapy from VNSNY for their first knee replacement requested the service again when they went back for their second knee replacement – “That’s the best complement we could ask for.”
Total knee replacement surgeries are avoided by many people because the surgery and recovery is perceived to be more painful, and patients are often off their feet for many months, said VNSNY spokesman Aaron Estrada.
But thanks to new therapies, patients are saving money and recovering faster in the comfort of their own homes.
“Receiving rehab at home after a joint replacement is actually less expensive than going to a rehab facility,” said Gallagher. “It costs the insurance company roughly half of what a skilled nursing facility or in-patient rehab unit would charge. Under Medicare reimbursement, there is no cost to the patient as long as they meet Medicare guidelines for homecare.” VNSNY recognizes that total knee replacements have doubled in the last 10 years and more than 4.5 million Americans now have them, which has led them to develop home treatments.
Correale said it took her a month of five day-a-week treatments to recover.
“I was discharged from the hospital on Saturday and my therapist, Suhnita Job, came on Monday,” she said. “It was so quick. I was really frightened but she has a way of working with me that was like tough love. She gave me confidence.”
Correale said the physical therapist worked with her for an hour each day, bending and manipulating her leg and helping her to walk various distances.
“At first she would just walk me around my house, then we went to walking around the block with a walker,” Correale said. “After four or five days of that, I got rid of the walker and was walking with a cane and before I knew it I was walking without the cane.”
Correale said her physical therapist become more like a friend than a therapist.
“She was so warm and we connected so well,” she said. “I will always be grateful for this opportunity that Visiting Nurse Services has given me.”
Kirsten Sanchez can be reach via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 742-3394