Joint Journey Program Patients at Divine Savior Experience Excellence


Divine Savior Healthcare has changed the way patients and their families think about and experience hip and knee replacement surgery with their Joint Journey program. Joint Journey is a comprehensive program based on a national practice model for hip and knee replacements, which is structured around the fundamental principles of wellness.

According to Divine Savior Orthopedic Surgeons Dr. Frank Walter and Dr. Doug Arnold, patients benefit from an incredible amount of research and best-practice implementation with this program. This innovative program was fully implemented one year ago at Divine Savior to maximize outcomes and provide a superior experience for people having hip or knee replacement surgery. After one year, care team members, physicians and Joint Journey patients all report incredible outcomes and results.



Data collected from the last year for total hip and joint replacement patients also indicates:   



Complication Rates

Patient Education

Readmission Rates

Walking Distances and Flexibility

Length of Stay in the Hospital

Patient Satisfaction

Overall Costs

Discharges Directly Home


One program highlight that many patients note, is that their hospital stay and recovery time has become significantly shorter. Patients leave the hospital sooner, and more go directly home rather than to a rehabilitation or nursing facility. Most patients are ready and able to go home in two days.  

The Joint Journey Program incorporates advanced, minimally invasive, analgesic and rapid-recovery techniques….all in an environment that maximizes recovery through education, preparation, a culture of early mobility, family involvement, team work, and returning patients back into their homes faster.

What Is Joint Replacement Surgery?

Joint replacement surgery involves removing a damaged joint and putting in a new one. A joint is where two or more bones come together, like the knee, hip, and shoulder. Your doctor may suggest a hip or knee joint replacement to improve how you live. Replacing a joint can relieve pain and help you move and feel better.

The Joint Journey Experience

An important aspect of the program is that individuals having elective surgery chose a coach – usually a family member or loved one – who is an active participant in the care before, during and after discharge from the hospital. Both the patient and their coach attend a pre-operative class before surgery, where they meet their Joint Journey team, in addition to learning in detail about the procedure, what to expect in the hospital, and how to care for themselves once returning home afterward. Coaches learn the program right along with their loved one, and provide encouragement and support every step of the way.

Each patient meets the Joint Care Coordinator, a registered nurse who oversees their entire experience, and is their resource before, during and after surgery. The team members involved with caring for joint patients at Divine Savior receive special training, and are selected to work with Joint Journey patients because of their expertise, positive nature, and motivational skills.

Wellness remains a large focus during the patient’s stay in the hospital. Patients bring comfortable clothing to wear each day rather than a hospital gown. They also follow an aggressive daily scheduled that begins early each morning in a dedicated section of the hospital devoted to joint replacement patients. 

Each day, patients received a daily newsletter, letting them know their agenda for the day, along with tips on how to care for themselves later. Two group therapy sessions are held daily in the rehabilitation department, specific for joint replacement patients. A visual display board tracks individual distances walked helps to keep patients motivated and moving forward. Patients find the camaraderie with other patients’ progress both challenging and rewarding.

“I had no idea I would be up and moving that quickly! I was surprised how far I could actually walk. I hadn’t walked that far in nearly six years!” reports a Joint Journey graduate.

Care doesn’t end after discharge though.  Joint Journey graduates receive calls from the Joint Care Coordinator in the days following discharge, and again at intervals throughout the year after surgery. Reunions are held for graduates and their coaches, to celebrate their victories with the surgeons and the Joint Journey team.

The End Result

The Joint Journey program embraces the Divine Savior commitment to change with the changing needs of those they serve.  Each patient is evaluated on multiple clinical, functional, and patient satisfaction criteria. These outcomes are analyzed during monthly performance improvement team meetings, and enable Divine Savior Healthcare to become an efficient and cohesive team.

Divine Savior has been offering continued high quality care and services, caring for Portage and surrounding communities for over 100 years.  If you’d like more information on Joint Replacement at Divine Savior Healthcare, please visit www.dshealthcare.com/Joint_Journey or make an appointment with Dr. Arnold or Dr. Walter by calling (608) 745-6420.



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