ST. LOUIS – Finding an orthopedic specialist to repair your hip, knee, or shoulder joint can feel daunting when you want the assurance that you can return to doing the things you enjoy.

The Joint Replacement Center at SSM Health DePaul Hospital is the first hospital in St. Louis to earn the highest national certification in total joint replacement. The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® distinguishes the Joint Replacement Center for exceeding national standards of quality in joint replacement.

“A nurse navigator is a registered nurse that works directly with the patient,” said Angie LeMarr, RN, a nurse navigator with the Joint Replacement Center. “They start the process with (the patient) when they schedule surgery and continue until they’re fully recovered. After surgery, we are actually the direct contact point for our surgeons and every member of our care team to ensure the patient has the best outcome after surgery.”

The National Association of Orthopedic Nurses has certified the majority of orthopedic nurses at the Joint Replacement Center. This certification demonstrates that these nurses have superior knowledge and expertise in caring for orthopedic patients.

Nurses who receive this prestigious certification must have a minimum of 1,000 hours of orthopedic nursing experience and pass a rigorous examination. A nurse management team coordinates every part of a patient’s hospital stay and is available for questions and consultation.

The Joint Replacement Center at SSM Health DePaul Hospital is a 30-bed unit where surgeons perform more knee, hip, and shoulder replacements than most surgeons in the nation. They were some of the first in Missouri to perform minimally invasive knee and hip replacement surgery. Their expertise translates to faster recovery, shorter hospital stays, fewer complications, better outcomes, and happier patients.

The program includes a physical and occupational therapy gym where skilled therapists work with patients and families to promote quick recovery after surgery.

“We’re able to provide the right education to make sure their journey is the most successful, and they have the best outcomes to a successful knee or hip or shoulder replacement. And that is the ultimate goal of our program,” LaMarr said.

To learn more about finding an orthopedic specialist or to download a free guide to replacement surgery options, click here.

The SSM Health Medical Minute airs Wednesdays on KPLR News 11 at 7 p.m. and FOX 2 News at 9 p.m.