Post-Op Helpful Tips for Home
In our previous article, Preparing Your Home for After Surgery, we provided information on how to prepare and adapt your home environment for your home-coming after hip or knee surgery, to make it a suitable environment for you to heal and recover safely.
In this article, we have gathered and summarised some additional practical tips that our patients over the years have found helpful. And not only helpful – you will find that these tips below can help give you something of your independence back and speed up your recovery time as you heal.
Additional practical tips for returning home after surgery
- Animals: As much as we love animals, ensure that excitable animals are temporarily shut away on the day of your arrival home, at least until you are seated, to reduce the risk of being knocked over. Also, it is not advised to have dogs sleeping on the bed; this will reduce the risk of damage to the operated area as well as help to prevent infection. (See our article on infections in joint surgery.)
- Crutches: Store your crutches upside down and apply Prestik on the shaft and tip.
- Picking up items from the floor: there are a few ‘tools’, bought/home-made or make-shift, that you can use to help you pick things up off of the floor (and maybe give you some additional independence). These include: purchasing an easy reacher, using braai tongs, making use of a dowel with a cup hook or even making using of your crutches and Prestik! Your choice will depend on the items you want to pick up. But when in doubt, rather ask for help.
- Carrying items while on crutches. It is not easy to carry things while on crutches, even more so if it is two crutches! Consider making use of a bag with long handles or a backpack; an apron or jacket with big pockets could also prove equally as useful.
- Keeping in contact: The reality is that any surgery makes you potentially more dependent on others, and at a greater risk for injury as you recover; even more so when it comes to hip or knee surgery where your movement, to begin with, is limited post-op. To stay easily contactable as well as able to contact others when you need to, we recommend making use of a cordless phone or cell phone. When alone in the house, carry your phone with you (lanyard/ pocket/ moonbag). Some patients have even found having a bell or whistle available enables them to call for help or get the attention of their carers or family more easily.
- Night-time toilet needs: To avoid the need to move around or ask for assistance, you could get a plastic urinal “bottle” for men and women. Many patients find this particularly useful at night, but it is entirely optional.
- Swimming: Swimming at home is not permitted initially (up to at least six weeks) due to the risk of falling when getting in and out of the pool. Walking on wet surfaces around the pool also poses a risk of slipping. Since most home pools don’t have railings and low steps to access the water, it is not considered safe and is best left to when you have healed a little more. That said, Hydrotherapy (water rehabilitation) is possible from four weeks post-op. Ask your physiotherapist about this while in the hospital.
Top Tip: You can get any Orthopaedic equipment you need from Medsport (Ground Floor, Vincent Pallotti Orthopaedic Hospital; just call 021 531 7232). Alternatively, you can try other pharmacies in your area. Another option is to ask within your community if you can borrow equipment for a while. Many people are very willing to loan out equipment to those who need it.
Should you have any other questions about how to prepare your home for your home-coming after your surgery, wish to book an in-person or virtual consult, or share some of your own tips with us, get in touch with our team today.