A unique partnership between OrthoIllinois, the YMCA of Rock River Valley and Judson University is helping transform the lives of patients who need hip or knee surgery before they ever reach the operating room.
It’s the brainchild of Megan Salser, a registered orthopedic technologist at OrthoIllinois who works with Dr. Michael Chmell, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who is also the medical director of the OrthoIllinois Surgery Center.
During the past few years, they noticed a trend – many patients who needed joint replacement surgery had to be deferred because of their weight. In recent years, an increased risk of medical and surgical complications in patients undergoing hip and knee replacement surgery has been correlated with obesity, as has a reduction in long-term success of such surgery.
Typically, patients were referred to a nutritionist and told to lose a certain amount of weight before having surgery. But Salser recognized they could do more for patients to help them be successful.
“Doctors may see patients and talk to them about their weight but never really address it. So we were the bearers of bad news. Nobody wants to hear they have to lose weight,” she said. “We needed to give them a sense of hope.
These goals are in line with OrthoIllinois’ mission of partnership with people to promote and restore active lives.
“We wanted to come up with a program for patients that was cost-effective, incorporated a mental health piece, incorporated the exercise and nutrition, but also connected them with people in the community who have the same struggles,” Salser explained.
Through research, meetings and discussions, the JOYNT program was born. The acronym represents the first letters of all three organizations involved in the partnership, as well as the journey – navigating and transformation.
Patients who qualify for the 12-week program are connected with nutrition education and aquatic fitness classes at the Y and group counseling through Judson. The cost is $120 in total, which covers all the services and an unlimited Y membership. Once the program is over, patients are offered a discounted monthly Y membership.
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