Welcome back to part 2 of our blog series on a caregiver’s joint replacement surgery aftercare! In this segment, we’ll take a look at some of the ways you can prepare for recovery, both for yourself and the patient. Knowing what to expect and being prepared after your patient is discharged from the hospital will help make the transition as smooth as possible.
Some of the big things you can do prior to your patient coming home are:
1. Prepare the house – You’ll want to place any items that are frequently/regularly used (TV remotes, telephones, cell phone chargers, books/magazines/newspapers, etc) in easy to reach places. Also, make sure there’s nothing that could cause someone to slip and fall. Throw rugs and cords that stretch across rooms are examples.
2. Medications – Make sure you’ve got all the necessary medications ready to go. This would include any prescriptions that the surgeon writes upon discharge, as well as any of the day-to-day prescriptions that the patient may take. There may also be other medications that would be good to have at your disposal, like over-the-counter pain relievers (Tylenol, Advil, Motrin) as well as stool softeners (often times narcotic pain medications can cause constipation).
3. Special equipment – Your nurses and therapists can help you determine if the patient would benefit from a special toilet seat, a bath seat/bench, or other special equipment. It’s quite likely that the patient will be sent home with a bunch of gadgets to help in those first few days, such as instruments to help with putting socks on. It’s helpful to be present when the patient is being shown how to use an assistance device, simply because two sets of eyes and ears are always better than one.
4. Dressing changes – Find out if you’ll be needed to help change the dressing over the incision and, if so, what supplies (bandages, tape, etc) you’ll need to properly accomplish the task.
5. Recovery – The surgeon will be able to give you a pretty good estimate of recovery time. It’s possible that the patient will need to attend physical therapy appointments as well as follow-up appointments with the surgeon, so make sure you know what the timeline is supposed to look like so you can help with transportation, etc.
The other big thing we want you to focus on is yourself. Being a caregiver is an enormous responsibility and can be trying at times. Have others lined up to come in and help so that you’re able to get out for a bit and have some time to yourself. If other friends and family offer to go grocery shopping or provide meals, take them up on it!
Lastly, if you ever have any questions or concerns, the surgeons here at Lincoln Orthopaedic Center are always just a phone call away. Even if it’s the middle of the night or on a Sunday afternoon, we always have a physician on call that can be reached through our answering service. Even if we can be right there with you, LOC will always be here for you! Granddaughter helping her disabled grandmother walk with the aid of a walker.