6 Steps to Prepare for Returning Home after Hip Replacement Surgery

Hip replacement surgery can be stressful for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the prospect of a long recovery. After your surgery, you’ll need help with your chores, cooking and cleaning, and even some of the basic activities you usually don’t think twice about, like showering, using the bathroom, and getting dressed.

At Orange Orthopaedic Associates, we want to make sure your homecoming and recovery go as smoothly as possible, so we’ve put together the following steps to help you prepare:

1. Line up a caregiver before your surgery

If you have a spouse, partner, or roommate, don’t be shy about asking them for help. During your recovery, they’ll need to take on the additional role of part-time caregiver. Plus, you won’t be able to drive and you’ll need someone to take you to your post-op appointments.

If you live alone, or if your partner is physically unable to help you after the surgery, there are a number of home health care agencies where you can find trained caregivers to help you with things like bathing, dressing and getting around. Many home health aides can even go to the grocery store for you.

2. Use dressing aids and accessorize your walker

You’ll leave the surgical center with a walker, and you’ll want to accessorize right away. Two invaluable accessories you’ll want to attach are a basket and a drink holder. These are both great for transporting snacks from the kitchen to the living room; plus, the basket is a great place to keep your phone. Never carry anything in your hands when you’re using your walker.

A couple of other accessories to have on hand include a sock aid to make putting your socks on easier, especially if you don’t have a partner to help you, and a long-handled “reacher” so you can avoid bending over too much.

3. Clear all walkways

Clear the paths and sidewalks outside your home, and make sure your driveway is unobstructed. Remove hoses, tools, and tree branches. You’ll need wide paths to accommodate your walker.

Inside the house, put away any small area rugs and secure TV and internet cables with zip ties, making sure they’re out of your living space to ensure that you don’t trip. It’s also important to make sure your stair railings are secure and to place nightlights in every room you’ll be using.

4. Arrange for a pet- and child-free home

If you have a rambunctious pet, find a friend or trusted pet care center to take them for a couple of weeks. Likewise, if you live with small children or regularly babysit your grandkids, make arrangements in advance for their care while you’re recovering. Small children and pets can get underfoot, increasing your risk of injury.

5. Streamline your kitchen

During your recovery from hip replacement surgery, frozen foods may be your best friend. If you prefer home-cooked meals, cook and freeze them in advance. Place a bar stool or chair in the kitchen so you can sit when reheating and preparing meals.

Make sure any dishes and cleaners you’ll need are in cupboards or on countertops at heights between your waist and shoulder for easy access. If you live alone, consider using paper plates and disposable silverware for a couple of weeks.

6. Prepare the bathroom

Purchase an elevated toilet seat that attaches to the top of your regular seat, or get a toilet chair. Many people use toilet chairs after surgery, so they’re widely available; you may even be able to pick one up at a thrift store.  

Place a slip-resistant rubber mat in the tub, and use a shower chair with rubber feet. Make sure all of your soaps and shampoos are within hand’s reach, and never bend down to reach items in the shower. You might also purchase a sponge on a handle to wash easily without bending or twisting.

Lay down a large bath mat with a rubber/non-skid backing outside your tub, so the mat doesn’t move when you step on it.

Following these simple steps can relieve a lot of the anxiety that naturally accompanies any type of surgery. If you need a full or partial joint replacement, call the experts at Orange Orthopaedic Associates in West Orange, New Jersey. You can also book an appointment online.

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