Have you or a loved one made the big decision to bite the bullet and get that hip replaced? Do you have questions or wonder what the next steps are? It’s always good to do research ahead of time to be prepared for surgery.
Preparation will require time, effort and patience. Most importantly, being prepared will help ensure the operation runs smoothly and a speedy recovery is achieved. Here’s what to keep in mind for upcoming hip surgery.
What to Do Before the Surgery
You will want to start planning several weeks before the surgery and can the preparation itself can take several weeks. It is recommended that you research the hospital, doctors, and the surgery process. As you learn about hip replacement surgeries and procedures, be sure to write down any questions you might have for the surgeon.
You will also want to prepare physically. Maintaining good physical health cannot be emphasized enough, and upper body strength especially is key for the successful use of crutches or a walker.
Getting in as good as shape as possible before surgery will help speed up the length of time required for recovery. For those who are overweight, losing even just a few pounds will be beneficial. And again, working on upper body strength is important. Consider a safe senior exercise workout routine targeting the upper body for an easier transition to crutches or a walker.
Pre-Surgery Medical Preparation
Overall health is essential to be able to make it through surgery. Pre-admission testing and health check-ups include a urine test and blood work.
Blood transfusions are also common with hip surgeries. Donating a patient’s blood prior to surgery and auto-transfusions after the surgery are both options. This type of transfusion is an autologous blood donation meaning a person receives their own blood if a transfusion is needed. Complete blood count testing may also be included in the testing to be considered “all clear” for surgery.
Because urinary tract infections are usually undetected and common, a urinalysis is done two weeks before the surgery to allow enough time to be treated and clear. An EKG and chest x-ray will also be performed to check the health of the heart and respiratory systems.
The next step is to meet with an anesthesiologist to discuss the anesthesia options and to learn about the different types. Anesthesiologists will be the ones who go over taking the routine medications the day of the surgery.
Occupational therapists and physical therapists are essential members of the medical team and will be influential in teaching and educating the patient on how to prepare for surgeries. An assessment from them is a critical pre-surgery step. They will both provide information on exercises and pre-operative programs in addition to arranging for walkers, canes and other specialized equipment that might be needed in the recovery phase. Connecting the patient to others aides is also part of their role.
Preparing For Hip Surgery Recovery
Thinking about post-operation life and recovery is also important. As a caregiver, you will want to think about your loved one’s home life and job. Prepare for possibly needing up to a few months off from work, depending on your position or role.
Be sure the home is set up for an easy recovery. Make changes before the surgery so your main recovery area will ready when the patient is released to go home. Consider living and sleeping in an area without stairs or on the first floor. Having a home camp with all the necessities of daily living is recommended. Removing loose rugs and cords or other tripping hazards is important and so is having phones, television remotes, computers and other frequently used devices in easy reach. Long-handled shoe horns and reachers to pick up dropped items are also useful and may help limit falls.
Recovery and a strong support system go hand in hand, it isn’t easy to recover alone. Family and friends can help with planning, providing transportation to and from appointments, and can provide much needed emotional support. Having a close relative or friend who has time to stay in the house during recovery is critical for both general support, and also in case a fall happens. If you do not have a support system, hiring a nurse for home care assistance is recommended if staying in a rehabilitation center is not possible.