Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Health Sciences


Rehabilitation Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Dana Howell

Second Advisor

Dr. Patrick Kitzman


Discharge readiness following total knee replacement (TKR) has often been defined using quantitative factors, such as knee range of motion or walking a specified distance. These measurements fail to include other features that could impact readiness for discharge, such as social support or patient perceptions. Most patients have positive results following TKR surgery, however others experience negative outcomes such as falls, reduced functional performance, and hospital readmission. Readiness for returning home after TKR begins with pre-operative education to prepare patients for surgery and the post-operative phase. Health care providers must have a clear understanding of patients’ perceptions of readiness to return home after surgery. It is also essential to describe the current structure of pre-operative education nationally as a mechanism for better preparing patients to return home following knee replacement.

This dissertation includes three studies that explore aspects of discharge readiness following TKR including patients’ perceptions of readiness for discharge as well as the structure of pre-operative education for TKR across the United States. The first study examined patients’ experiences preparing for discharge home from the acute care setting following TKR surgery. Results indicated that patients felt prepared overall for discharge and received appropriate supports for returning home after surgery, but some felt unprepared for certain aspects of recovery such as the amount of pain experienced in the post-operative phase. The second study surveyed health care providers who participated in pre-operative education before TKR to identify the current structure of education programs in the United States. This pilot study revealed that pre-operative education teams were commonly interprofessional with education being typically provided in a group format in a single session lasting between 1 and 1.5 hours. Verbal and written instruction were common delivery methods to provide education.

The final dissertation study used mixed-methods to explore the current structure of pre-operative education for TKR in the United States with a large, national sample. Orthopedic nurses completed an online survey to describe their pre-operative education program. The majority of participants provided pre-operative education as part of interprofessional teams in either a group format or a format that included both group and individual education. Verbal instruction was the most common educational delivery method followed by written instruction. Most pre-operative education classes lasted between 1 and 1.5 hours, were delivered in a single session, and included a variety of topics. Ten orthopedic nurses were then interviewed and interview transcripts were analyzed qualitatively for common themes among participants. Participants expressed that pre-operative education was a significant component impacting patient outcomes following surgery. Interprofessional pre-operative education was valued by participants, but pragmatic factors were identified as barriers to the inclusion of other disciplines within these programs. Education programs were constantly evolving based on current evidence-based practice and changes to orthopedic protocols. Descriptions of pre-operative programs nationally combined with providers’ perceptions provides a strong basis for determining best practice to support better post-operative patient outcomes. This dissertation research culminated in recommendations for best practice as well as the creation of a model, the ICF-I-EDUCATE, which combines the International Classification of Health, Functioning and Disability (ICF), interprofessional practice, and the EDUCATE model for providing patient and family education. Research is needed to examine the ICF-I-EDUCATE model in clinical practice for patients with planned TKR.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)