Stacy Jo Carda knows a thing or two about surgery. She spent many years as a registered nurse working in the operating room, until her knee pain made standing for hours impossible.
“I had pain for about 10 years, and it just kept getting worse and worse over time,” Carda said.
Having exhausted her non-surgical treatment options, Stacy decided to have total knee replacement surgery in April 2018 at the University of Minnesota Health Clinics and Surgery Center. As part of her surgical experience, Stacy chose to participate in Recovery Advantage, a program designed to optimize patients’ comfort, safety, and recovery after surgery.
Recovery Advantage allows patients to recover from surgery in the comfort of a luxurious hotel room rather than a hospital bed. Care teams at the University of Minnesota Health Clinics and Surgery Center have partnered with Double Tree by Hilton Minneapolis – University Area to provide postsurgical care for patients that focuses on comfort, privacy, and safety. The program has had great success with orthopaedic patients and is now expanding to other specialties, including urology, otolaryngology (ENT), cancer care and women’s health.
Before the surgery, Stacy met with the surgery coordinator and physical therapist, who explained what to expect from Recovery Advantage and how Stacy could best prepare for surgery. On the day of surgery, Orthopaedic Surgeon Mark Dahl, MD, and his team performed a total joint replacement on Stacy’s right knee. “Dr. Dahl and his whole staff were really, really good,” Stacy said.
After surgery, Stacy was cleared to be driven across the street to the hotel.
“The room was a very large, beautiful space, with a huge bathroom. There was plenty of room to maneuver, even with the walker that I was using after surgery. I appreciated the privacy and the fact that my husband could stay in the room with me,” she said.
Additional amenities include complimentary in-room dining (room service) and valet service.
“We’re getting extremely positive feedback from the patients that choose Recovery Advantage,” said Dianne Rawson, senior director of perioperative services through University of Minnesota Health. “The environment is beneficial for recovery. We get excellent reports about the nursing care. The pre- and postsurgical coordination helps patients understanding what to expect throughout the process.”
The day after her surgery, Stacy chose to jump start her recovery process by walking back and forth in the privacy of the large hotel room, rather than walking the halls of the hospital ward.
“The hotel had peace and quiet. There wasn’t any commotion, as there might be in a hospital setting,” she said.
She also met with her physical therapist before and after the procedure. During the follow-up meeting at the hotel, the physical therapist answered all of Stacy’s questions, helped her exercise the joint, and taught her husband how to facilitate Stacy’s recovery exercises at home.
As part of Recovery Advantage, a registered nurse stays in the adjoining hotel room for the duration of the patient’s stay to deliver medications, provide bedside care, and answer questions.
“The nursing care was really good,” Stacy said. “They came in regularly to check my vital signs, check my pain level and give me pain medication. I could call them any time I needed help.”
“There is a lot of time for personal attention, and a big focus on patient and caregiver education with Recovery Advantage,” Rawson said. “It’s an advantage for both the patient and the caregiver.”
The day after surgery, Stacy was ready to check out of the hotel and continue her recovery at home. She diligently followed instructions, doing at-home exercises three times each day in addition to physical therapy appointments. Her knee function is now excellent.
In fact, Stacy made such a good recovery that she is now back to work as a nurse in the operating room. “I never thought I’d be able to go back. I’m so happy—working in the OR is my passion.”