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Preparing for Hip Replacement Surgery
This is the perfect time to make sure your body is in the best shape for surgery and a good time to prepare your home for your recovery.
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How to Prepare for Hip Replacement Surgery
In the weeks leading up to surgery, your orthopaedic surgeon may:
- Restrict and/or supplement your diet
- Ask you to stop taking certain medications
- Refer you to a physical therapist and recommend if pre-surgical exercises are right for you
You and your caregiver should take this time to familiarize yourselves with the surgery and what to expect during your hospital stay. You should also find out what to bring to the hospital to make your time there more comfortable.
Preparing Your Home
There are several things to consider when preparing your home for your return from the hospital.
Choose the entrance with the shortest route- with the fewest steps – to the main living area. If you have steps into your house, consider installing a firm handrail on either or both sides.
- Ensure that lighting is adequate
- Clear a path from the passenger side of your vehicle to the entrance you’ve chosen
If you have a toilet seat with a low height, use a raised commode seat for comfort or to keep your
hip from bending too far when sitting if instructed to avoid this bending by your surgical team.
Handrails or grab bars can make getting on and off the commode easier.
Your physical or occupational therapist can help determine the best location of these in a preoperative home safety visit.
- Having a bedside commode may be a helpful choice
- Grab bars can help with accessing your bathtub or shower
- A tub or shower bench can offer additional safety and comfort
Shelves and Cupboards
You may have bending limitations placed on you after surgery. If you do, arrange your shelves and cupboards with frequently used items at waist to shoulder height. For lighter items that are on lower shelves, be sure to have help or special tools handy to keep you from bending over at the hips.
A good rule of thumb is to have a seat height that is at least 20 inches above the floor. If you have bending limitations placed on you, then you need to be careful sitting in your furniture at home. If you sit down and your knees are above your hips, the seat is too low. If that’s the case, consider using a platform under the seat or couch to raise it to the desired height. Using 4x4 blocks may be helpful, but ensure that the chair or couch is stable when placed on them.
Preparing Floors, Doors, and Hallways
- Remove throw rugs
- Consider re-routing any electrical cords that might be a hazard
- Remove doors that are either too narrow for your walker to fit through or that are heavy and hard to swing open, especially if they separate a frequently used walkway
Finally, be sure you have good lighting. Overhead and night lighting will be helpful, especially if you need to be up and about at night or at other times of low light.
Communicating with Health Care Providers
As a conscientious caregiver, you want to be as prepared as possible when the inevitable questions arise about the patient and the procedure. When communicating with your doctor, be as clear and specific as possible.
Avoid communication barriers
- Talk about how your loved one communicates his/her feelings and concerns—physically, verbally, and emotionally
- Ask questions when you or your loved one have them and make sure you fully understand the information being given to you or the patient
Feel comfortable with the staff
- Make sure doctors and staff listen to the patient’s concerns and provide answers to any questions
- See if care options can be adapted to fit within your loved one’s religious or cultural beliefs
- Talk about which family member(s) should be included in discussions about the patient’s condition/disease and subsequent treatment
- Talk about whether the patient prefers to discuss his/her diagnoses, test results, and treatment options with or without another family member present
- Keep the doctor informed. Contact the surgeon if there are any complications from surgery, such as fever, redness, drainage or bleeding around the wound site
Some communication is off-limits for a patient’s protection
The law protects the privacy of every patient’s medical record, and healthcare providers work hard to maintain the confidentiality of the patient’s record. Check with the healthcare team well before the surgery to ensure that patient privacy guidelines are met, and to be sure that you comply with applicable regulations and policies.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
As with any medical treatment, individual results may vary. The performance of hip replacements depends on age, weight, activity level and other factors. There are potential risks and recovery takes time. If you have conditions that limit rehabilitation you should not have this surgery. Only an orthopaedic surgeon can tell you if hip replacement is right for you.