Is your relative having knee surgery but neither of you is quite sure what to expect?
Procedures such as knee replacement require a period of recovery and slow rehabilitation, but the result of pain-free mobility will be completely worth it. Here are some tips for helping your loved one recover from their upcoming surgery:
Preparing the Main Living Area
Before your relative goes into surgery, discuss what preparation his/her home needs. If there are any interior stairs in the home, make arrangements to avoid them during the recovery process, especially during the first week or so. This may mean that the patient has to sleep downstairs or that you have to take over all of the laundry duties for a while.
To increase mobility during the recovery process, take the time to move any furniture or other objects that could block the patient’s path or cause frustration. You may want to sanitise the area to limit the risk of germs and infections. In addition, put together a large basket or box full of things your relative might need or want close at hand.
Leaving the Hospital
The length of the hospital stay depends on the type of surgery as well as your relative’s initial degree of mobility. Typically patients are released within one or two days, or once they can get into and out of bed and get to the toilet. Be aware, however, that this may take up to a week to become easy at home.
A nurse will be present to help your relative get into the car at the hospital or surgery, but you may want to have one or two more people at home to help your loved one get settled. If there are a couple of stairs that lead inside the home, he/she can use a rollator or wheely walker for support while you and any helpers can surround and assist as needed.
At first, extraneous motion should be limited until the patient is ready, or the doctor has advised it. If your relative’s mobility was limited before the surgery due to increasing amounts of pain, keep in mind that it will take time to build up muscle strength and free movement. The surgeon will prescribe medication to help manage the pain as well as give you guidelines for keeping the affected leg elevated or iced.
In the first week or until the patient can travel more easily, you may have visitors including a physiotherapist, for exercises, and a home health nurse for blood work, assessments, and dressing changes. If possible, try to help your loved one stay motivated to do the recommended stretches and exercises on a regular basis, even up to months post-surgery.
Hiring or Buying Rehabilitation Equipment
Do you already own crutches, a walker, or a wheelchair? How about stools for use in various rooms, or shower aids? Hiring assisted living equipment may be a good idea for short-term use, such as after surgery.
You may want to keep some equipment, especially if your relative will be facing a similar surgery in the future. For personal recommendations, contact Homecare Equipment Services
in Adelaide on (08) 8338 7988.