There’s no way around it: recovering from joint replacement surgery is hard work. At least as much as other procedures, the speed and success of your recovery can depend on the effort you put in and the tools and experts you draw on for support.
One major way to give yourself the fastest possible joint replacement recovery is to go into your surgery well-prepared. Read on for our tips on preparing your home and your care team for the road to recovery, and how home health care can keep you on that fast track toward restored function.
The conversation shouldn’t end when you decide to have joint replacement surgery. Take time to talk to your doctor about what you should expect in terms of what will happen before, during, and after the procedure, as well as long term. If you have questions or concerns, it’s best to ask beforehand. Here are some topics you might want to discuss:
- How long should I expect to be in the hospital after surgery?
- Will I need to go to an inpatient rehab facility before going home?
- What kind of assistive devices (like raised toilet seats or grab bars) should I have in my home to keep me safe during recovery?
- Is there anything I can do now to help me recover faster afterward — like quitting smoking, or losing weight?
You’ll be getting a lot of information and instructions to get you ready for surgery, so remember to have a pen and notepad handy to write things down for later. Or you might ask a caregiver or loved one to come with you to your appointments, to help you absorb and remember everything you’re told.
Home Prep Tips
Getting discharged from the hospital is a big milestone in recovery, but although you’re well enough to come home, you won’t yet be back to your normal self. If you’re able, prepare to recover at home before you even go in for your surgery.
- Assisted-mobility adaptations: During recovery you may need to use a walker or cane, so take stock of the layout of your home. Are there clear, straight pathways that are wide enough to safely travel with a walking aid? Have someone help you arrange furniture and remove obstacles in the rooms you’ll need to use, and secure tripping hazards such as throw rugs and electrical cords to minimize your fall risk.
- Enable easy reaching: Think of the things you use most — your medications, reading glasses, plates and silverware, or the television remote. Go through the rooms of your house, pull out these frequent-use items, and find places to keep them right within reach, ideally in the open at medium height. For tasks that will require stretching, twisting, or bending, investigate adaptive aids like long-handled shoehorns and sponges, grabbing tools, and footstools.
- Practice energy conservation: You may get tired easily as your body heals. Because fatigue can make food preparation a challenge, make some meals ahead of time and freeze them for after surgery. Also, consider using a soft shoulder bag to carry essentials with you and save trips around the house.
- Use the buddy system: Don’t expect to be completely independent the moment you set foot in your home. Arrange to have a family member or loved one take you home and stay with you for at least the first few days.
Follow-through is critical to successful joint replacement. The suggestions above can help set expectations and avoid setbacks that can slow the recovery process. However, having a care plan in place to gain back strength and stamina can help ensure you make optimal progress back toward full function.
Home health care can bridge the divide between being well enough to leave an inpatient setting, and finally feeling fully well and restored. The skilled nurses and therapists of the Residential Home Health Care Team can help with medication management, exercises for strength and balance, and home safety during the vulnerable recovery period. What’s more, our Care Coordinators and expert staff are available at any step of the journey — before surgery, before hospital discharge, or once you are home. From choosing the right durable medical equipment to verifying insurance coverage to communicating with your doctor, Residential has the know-how to give you the fastest possible recovery at home.
Whether you’re considering joint replacement surgery, preparing for an upcoming procedure, or just starting your recovery, click here to learn how Residential Home Health helps patients get results that are 30% better than the national average. Or call (888)930-WELL (9355) to talk with a Home Care Specialist today.