Joint replacement surgery is the most common orthopedic surgery in the US. The procedure involces the removal of a damaged joint and then replacement with an orthopedic prosthesis with a goal of reducing pain and improving function so the patient can return to their desired activity. This procedure is recommended for patient that have significant deterioration in their joint that is creating pain and not allowing them to participate in activities that they enjoy. Typically surgery is performed if other conservative treatments like physical therapy, weight loss, and exercises have been unsuccessful.
It’s normal to feel pain after joint surgery, but with proper planning, you and your doctor can work together to manage this discomfort. Keep in mind that each recovery is different and depends on what joints are affected, the type of arthritis you have and how much help you have at home.
Below you’ll find some tips to help you plan for a successful recovery after major joint surgery.
Prepare Your Home for Your Return
Your home needs to be a place for rest and recovery. Prior to surgery, pick up clutter from the floor, lose rugs, and create wide walkways. Consider where sleeping will be most comfortable and where accessing the bathroom wil be easiest. Some home health agencies will even provide a pre-surgery evaluation with a physician referral. Depending on the home layout, a temporary bedroom on the first floor of the home can be a solution for the first few days after surgery. Set-up a comfort station in the home where items like medications, a phone, the TV remote, books, crosswords, snacks and blankets are easily accessible. Preparing meals for the freezer is another preparation that will save time and energy if performed prior to surgery.
Consider an In-Home Joint Replacement Program
VNA Health Group offers an in-home joint replacement program that provides high quality rehabilitation services in the home. This allows patients to focus on recovery vs traveling to appointments. A licensed therapist will come to your home and work with you on various skills and exercises to ease stiffness, decrease pain, and improve mobility. More people are choosing programs like these because they allow them to recover safely in the home environment, reducing the risk for hospitalizations and infections.
Here are some additional supplies that experts recommend:
- Ice packs. Ice packs help ease pain and inflammation at your incision site. You can purchase ice packs or make your own out of water and rubbing alcohol.
- Comfy clothing. Go through your closet and put together a comfortable wardrobe with loose fitting clothes. They should be easy to get on and off.
- Reachers and grabbers. To prevent injury, purchase a reacher or grabber that allows you to get things off high shelves, pick up things from the floor and pull up socks.
- The physician performing the surgery will also have a list of supplies and recommendations for success post surgery.
Keep a List of Contacts
Create a list that has the names and contact information of friends and family members you can reach in an emergency. Also make a list with your doctors’ names and any medications or supliments you are taking in case you have any questions. You may benefit from having a family member or neighbor come to your home to assist with pets, meals and other tasks.
Rehabilitation plays an important role in recovery from your joint replacement surgery. Contact VNA Health Group to learn more about our in-home therapy and how we can support you for a healthy and complete recovery.