Preparing Your Home for Your Return After Surgery
Before your total joint replacement procedure, you must think about how to make your home as comfortable and, more importantly, as safe as possible for you when you return from the hospital. Talk to your doctor, nurse, and/or case manager about the layout of your home. They can advise you about what you need to do. You should also discuss your home's design with your physical therapist and occupational therapist, particularly if you are undergoing a total hip replacement. They can also inform you about available community resources, including transportation and help you in obtaining a temporary handicap permit.
Remember that for at least a few weeks following total joint replacement you will be somewhat disabled. Look at the entrance to your home. If you have to go up stairs just to enter, you'll have to work on stairs in your therapy. If you have stairs inside your home, especially a long staircase of more than eight or nine stairs, you might want to consider having a bed moved downstairs before you go into the hospital.
Look around for anything that might trip you or make you fall. Make sure any throw rugs in the house are secured. If you can't secure them, remove them. The same goes for any cords. Make sure your hallways can be navigated with a walker. Also, don't wear clothes that can trip you, such as flip-flops or long robes.
Unfortunately, your faithful companions, your pets, can be dangerous to you during your recovery. You will have been in the hospital for several days, so they will be particularly eager to be around you and will probably be underfoot. "Make sure that before you move, you know where they are," said Atwood, "because pets have broken more than one prosthesis."
Before surgery, put a list of important numbers by the phone. If you do not already have a portable or cell phone, you might want to get one so you always have a phone nearby. To ease your return home, prepare and store some frozen meals ahead and make sure you have refills on your current prescriptions. Also, cleaning your home before you go in the hospital can make your homecoming more pleasant.
After surgery, because you may need in-home assistance such as home care nurses or physical therapists, you might have strangers in your home. You should put away any valuables. Also, remember that if you are hiring in-home helpers, make sure they are licensed, bonded and insured.
Your home offers you a place of comfort and relaxation, but following total joint replacement you will be a different person for a few weeks. Remember the suggestions of your doctor, nurse, and/or case manager can help you prepare your home as place for you to pleasantly and efficiently recover from your total joint replacement procedure.