This information is designed to help you understand your surgical journey with MedStar Union Memorial Orthopedics.

Navigating the Hospital on the Day of Your Surgery

On the day of your surgery, please arrive at the hospital at least two hours prior to your scheduled surgery. Park in Garage A and walk over the breezeway. Be sure to sign in as a visitor at the entrance and proceed to the Admitting Department (lobby of the Johnston Professional Building) to register. Reduced price parking vouchers are available in the gift shop, located in the main hospital lobby.

Please note: If your admission to the hospital is on Saturday or Sunday, please park in Garage B, walk across the bridge, once through the doors proceed straight to the main lobby for registration directions from security.

Preoperative Assessment Center

After you register, you will be directed to the Preoperative Assessment Center, located on the ground floor of the main hospital. Here, you will receive a nurse visit, meet your anesthesia provider and have a chance to speak with your surgeon.

While in the Preoperative Assessment Center, information regarding your medical condition will be reviewed and confirmed by the surgical team. You will have an IV inserted in your arm for fluids and medications during surgery. Your surgeon will also mark the surgical site with his or her initials. You are now ready for surgery.

Operating room

Your time in the operating room will depend on the complexity of the procedure. Your family and friends are welcome to stay in the waiting area until you are ready to be taken to your hospital room, or they may take a pager from the operating room waiting area to other common areas within the hospital, such as the cafeteria, coffee stand or gift shop. Once your surgery is completed, the surgeon will speak with your family and friends in the waiting area and discuss the outcome of your surgery.

Post Anesthesia Care Unit

After your surgery is complete, you will be taken to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit to recover from anesthesia. This is also known as the recovery room. This is a critical care unit staffed with specialty-trained nurses who will monitor you closely, checking your vital signs, pain level and bandages. You will remain in the recovery room before being transferred to your room on the orthopedic unit.

Your Hospital Stay

Following surgery, you will be taken to a skilled orthopedic nursing unit where staff is specialty trained and dedicated to the care and well-being of orthopedic patients. When you arrive on the unit, your vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, respirations, temperature, and oxygen levels) will continue to be monitored as your anesthesia wears off. You will notice a lot of equipment on and around you, which may include:

  • Compression stockings on your legs to help minimize the risk of developing blood clots.
  • Sequential compression devices (SCD) on your legs to assist with circulation. The SCD comfortably squeezes and relaxes your legs like a massage.
  • Heel protectors on your feet to help keep your heels slightly off the bed to prevent pressure areas from developing.
  • Ice bags or cold therapy devices on the surgical site, helping to decrease the swelling and pain in the joint after surgery. Please don’t hesitate to ask for ice bags whenever you need them.

In addition to the regular hospital menu, the orthopedic unit has snacks and sandwiches available if you miss a scheduled meal.

We will visit your room frequently but you can always call for assistance. Your room is connected to the nursing station via an intercom system.

Your Recovery

Your doctor, along with the team, will assist you with understanding which rehabilitation services are best for you, including home-health services. Should you require further rehabilitation and ongoing therapy, there are acute rehabilitation and sub-acute rehabilitation options available, depending on your needs and insurance coverage.

MedStar Health

MedStar Union Memorial Hospital is a member of MedStar Health, a non-profit, regional healthcare system with ten hospitals and more than 20 other health-related services in the Maryland and Washington, D.C., region. As you progress from surgery to at-home recovery and outpatient therapy, you may choose to continue your MedStar Health patient experience with another member of the MedStar Health system. Your patient care coordinator can answer any questions you may have as you consider your options for care after your orthopedic surgery.

Patient Care Coordinators for Joint Replacement

If you are having hip or knee replacement surgery, you will be matched with a patient care coordinator, a specially trained healthcare professional who will advise hip and knee replacement patients on pre- and post-surgical options, from attending your joint replacement class to post-surgical rehabilitation and recovery. Your coordinator’s goal is to help you return to your highest level of function quickly and safely. Working with your surgeon, your insurance and members of your healthcare team, you will be assisted in developing a post-surgical plan using the anticipated levels of rehabilitation services you need to reach your goals.

Staying Connected After Surgery

Our interest in your successful recovery doesn’t end after surgery. Your participation in the MedStar Orthopedics Outcomes program is a way for you and your surgeon to stay connected. Through this partnership, your surgeon will have a better understanding of how well you recovered, particularly with regard to pain, mobility and quality of life. At the time of your post-op visit, you will be asked to complete a brief questionnaire. By repeating these questionnaires at specific intervals, both you and your surgeon will be able to review and compare your improvement over time.

For your convenience, MedStar Orthopedics offers an easy and efficient way for you to stay in touch with this important program. Your surgeon will contact you via email with a secure link to your personal questionnaire, so please provide your email address to your surgeon’s office. Rest assured, all information is HIPAA compliant and is treated with the same level of patient confidentiality as your medical record.

Measuring results for the quality of care that we provide is just one example of our commitment to maintain the highest standard of excellence in orthopedic surgery. Your surgeon, and our team of healthcare professionals, thank you in advance for your support and are looking forward to staying connected with your care.

For additional information or questions regarding this program, contact your surgeon’s office or call MedStar Orthopedics Outcomes’ director of research at 410-261-8638.

Tips for Your Caregiver(s)

  • Visiting hours are from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily. Children under age 12 are not permitted to visit. Please limit the number of visitors/hours so that the patient can use his or her energy for recovery.
  • You may request an overnight pass from the nurse manager if you wish to stay with the patient. Only one guest is allowed.
  • You may bring your family member’s favorite foods to the hospital, as long as he or she does not have any dietary restrictions.
  • Free Wi-Fi is available in the hospital. No access code is needed.