Research shows that people who are well prepared and fully participate in their care have a smoother and faster recovery after joint hip replacement surgery. How do you go on with your life after a hip replacement? You will need help moving around and getting some things done. You will likely not be able to drive for 6 weeks (left hip replacement) and up to 3 months (right hip replacement). There are some things you can do BEFORE going to surgery to ensure a successful recovery AFTER:
- Before going to surgery ensure you have good support from your family or friends. They will be the ones to help you move around, bring groceries and take you to your doctor’s appointments. Have a designated contact person that will communicate your progress to the family as you may be in pain and on medication during the first couple of days in the hospital.
- Ensure you have all the needed equipment for the recovery prior to going in for surgery – a walker, crutches if you have stairs without handrails in your home, high toilet seat, bed assistance rail, bath transfer bench, leg pillow, reacher/grabber with pincher claws, long handle shoes horn and bath sponge. Red Cross provides some of this equipment or it can be purchased at your local drug store.
- If you can, rent or purchase a cold therapy unit. It will provide an effective and soothing option for post-operative pain and swelling. By managing your pain with cold therapy you will be more encouraged to do your exercises and move around after your surgery. You can bring the cold therapy unit with you to the hospital and ask your nurse to use it when you have woken up from anesthesia.
- Arrange for sessions with a physiotherapist who can guide you through your recovery exercises – a must in your after surgery care. You can do the exercises on your own too, but optimally there is a therapist to help you through. Remember that you must keep doing your exercises at home to strengthen your muscles and get your hip moving. Walking is an excellent exercise.
- Prepare and freeze some healthy meals for easy warm up after you are back in your home. Make sure you have an adequate supply of canned food and staples. You should be stocking up on foods that are rich in dietary fiber, calcium, and iron.
Remember that hip joint replacement is a major surgery and requires a great deal of hard work and healing on the part of the patient. Being prepared before helps your successful recovery.