The decision to undergo a hip replacement surgery must be taken jointly by the patient and the caregiver. The caregiver plays an important role in ensuring that the surgery is a success. The below lists some tips that can be used by a caregiver to care for the patient.
Make a list of questions:
Surgery is a big step and it is important that the caregiver and the patient make a list of questions and concerns to understand the procedure and what it involves fully. One may also wish to ask the orthopedic surgeon about specific help the caregiver should provide at this time.
Pack for the surgery:
While the actual duration of the surgery is only about 2 hours, a patient may end up staying in the hospital up till 5-7 days depending on the case. The caregiver may want to pack accordingly. Please find below some packing tips:
- Carry reading material
- Consider bringing a laptop but check with the hospital first on its policy on electronic devices
- Bring along a pillow, a small blanket, and a bag with toiletries and underwear
- Bring nonperishable snacks
- Wear comfortable shoes
- Pack personal medications. It is important that caregivers do not neglect their own medication. They should arrange this a week prior to the surgery.
Prepare for Home Safety:
While the patient is in the hospital, the caregiver could prepare the home for the patient’s stay. Some measures that could be taken include:
- Prepare a room for the patient on the ground floor so that he/she doesn’t have to climb stairs
- Indian style toilets could be replaced with western style toilets.
- All loose carpeting and clutter on which a patient can trip on should be removed
- All slippery surfaces should be covered
- Items which are regularly used by the patient should be kept in the patient’s reach.
- Widen furniture paths to accommodate for walking devices
The caregiver must know that everyone heals at different rates and hence there is no accurate timeline to predict the patient’s recovery process. Hence, it is a not good idea to push the patient beyond his/her limit. The caregiver must support the patient and follow medical orders.
Help with Patient Care
The caregiver may initially need to help the patient, sit, stand and move from place to place. The patient may need help bathing, going to the bathroom and perhaps even feeding themselves. The caregiver will also need to run all the necessary errands around the house in addition to taking the patient for their post-operative check ups and physiotherapy sessions.
Help with Rehab and Exercises
Post-surgery, the patient must adhere to a strict and rigorous rehab program. In many instances, patients find the exercises painful and stop doing them. As a caregiver, one must encourage the patient to continue these exercises in a disciplined manner as guided by the physiotherapy specialist. The caregiver can track their developments and motivate them to keep performing and making progress.
Help with Monitoring Change
The caregiver should always maintain a close watch on the patient and observe or monitor any changes in their physical or mental state. Conversations with the orthopedic surgeon may shed additional light on any watch out areas. It is not unusual for a patient to get depressed and feel isolated. The caregiver should always maintain healthy communication with the patient by expressing their feelings openly and encouraging the patient to do the same. The caregiver must be ask a lot of questions, be a good listener and respect the feelings of others.
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