Preparing for Knee Replacement Surgery

It is important for the patient and the caregiver to prepare well once the decision to go ahead with the knee replacement surgery has been made. Though highly effective for treating osteoarthritis, the surgery isn’t a quick fix and the patient, caregiver, orthopedic surgeon and physiotherapist will have to all work together to ensure a successful outcome.

Mental Preparation

One of the key ways to prepare oneself mentally and emotionally for the surgery is to be aware of all aspects of the operation and have all the information required to fully understand what is going on. This will enable the patient and caregiver to be more knowledgeable and optimistic about the procedure. Some common questions to keep note of are:

  • How long will the surgery take?
  • What type of anesthesia is needed??
  • What kind of rehab will the patient receive? 
  • Is it necessary to bank blood?
  • How long will the patient and caregiver be out of work?

Lifestyle Preparation

The orthopedic surgeon may advise the patient on their lifestyle in the run up to the surgery. Prior to the surgery, it is a good idea to eat healthy, stop drinking alcohol and smoking and get plenty of rest. The orthopedic surgeon may also recommend some exercises such as stretching etc to improve the range of motion to reduce tightness that is sometimes felt post-surgery.

Special Equipment Preparation

The caregiver may want to prepare the home in anticipation for the patient’s arrival post-surgery. Some of the most common steps include setting up the patient’s room on the ground floor so that he/she doesn’t have to climb stairs and removing throw rugs or electrical cords etc to ensure that the patient doesn’t trip etc. 

These items can help make your recovery at home easier.

  • Grab bars or safety rails help the patient move around the bathroom easier e.g get in and out of the bath.  
  • An elevated western style toilet seat will make it easier for the patient to use the restroom. 
  • Assistive devices such as walkers, crutches and canes will help the patient get around the house much easier and prevent falls and maintain balance.
  • A cordless phone or mobile phone is very helpful for patients as it will give patients phone access anywhere in the house for greater independence and safety.
  • A grabber will help the patient reach for things without straining or bending. Other devices such as sock helpers enable one to put on and take off their socks without straining.
  • Shoes or slippers that slide on and off will prevent bending, straining and help avoid falls. 

Packing for the Hospital

  • The patient and caregivers should leave their valuables at home when they go to the hospital. They should bring items such as glasses (if one wears them), hearing aid, dentures, toothbrush, toothpaste and a book.
  • The patient and the caregiver should remember to bring all necessary paperwork such as medical information (list of medications and nutritional supplements one is taking: allergies, health conditions, contact information for your physicians etc).
  • When the patient gets dressed to go to the hospital, the caregiver and the patient must remember to pack loose clothing that can fit over the new knee and bandage. These are the clothes that the patient can wear at home too.
  • The patient and the caregiver must ensure that they have all the necessary contact information for the healthcare team should any questions or any emergency come up.