Jerushia, 65, takes the train every day from her home in New London to her teaching job at Dunbar School in Bridgeport. "I'd been having mobility problems with my right knee due to osteoarthritis," she said. "But the day I fell it exacerbated the problem, and I couldn't ignore it anymore."
She met with orthopedic surgeon Lee E. Rubin, MD, at Yale New Haven Hospital's (YNHH) Center for Musculoskeletal Care. Dr. Rubin recommended a total knee replacement.
Jerushia finished the school year on June 25 and had the surgery three days later. "Dr. Rubin told me afterwards that my knee was in the worst condition he'd ever seen," she said.
Within hours after the surgery, however, Jerushia was on her feet again. "I didn't believe it when they came into my room to get me up," she said. "I was climbing stairs the next day!"
The hospital sent Jerushia home with the Virtual Exercise Rehabilitation Assistant (VERA), a tele-rehabilitation program for hip/knee replacement patients. VERA features an avatar that leads the patient through prescribed physical therapy exercises. Advanced motion-detection technology helps detect if the patient is doing the exercises correctly. The system also tracks and records the patient's progress so that the physical therapists and medical team can modify the plan at any time. YNHH is the first Connecticut hospital to use the VERA in-home program, together with in-person physical therapy.
"Using VERA was great – it gave me the freedom to travel all summer without having to spend my time going to physical therapy appointments," said Jerushia, who returned to the classroom in August – just two months after her knee replacement.
"For anyone who is the slightest bit skeptical about having a knee replacement, I urge them to go for it," Jerushia said. "Having the replacement has added value to my quality of life."