When you leave the hospital after hip replacement surgery, you'll have a long road of recovery ahead. Your mobility will improve over a period of several weeks, but at first, you'll probably have difficulty walking, stooping, and standing for very long. To make your home recovery as smooth as possible, it's a good idea to prepare in advance so you come home from the hospital to a setting that is suitable for your limited mobility. Here are some things that will help.
Prepare Your Lounging Area
You don't want to stay in bed, because being inactive isn't good for your general health. You'll be doing gentle hip exercises every day, and you'll need to move around as much as your doctor allows. However, in the first several days, you'll probably spend a lot of your time resting and relaxing so you can heal from the surgery. For that reason, you should prepare a lounging area where you'll be comfortable and have everything you need within reach.
Position a comfortable chair or recliner near a television or computer, so you'll have entertainment to watch. If you like to read, stack some books and magazines near the chair. If you like to knit or crochet, have the supplies handy, so you can grasp them without getting out of your chair. Also, you'll want a small table nearby to hold food, drinks, medications, and other supplies like the television remote.
Arrange the Kitchen
In the days before your surgery, make some meals ahead and place them in the freezer. That way you won't have to handle heavy pots or stand at the stove to make dinner every night. Stock up on foods that don't need to be cooked, or ones that can be cooked quickly in a microwave. If you have friends or family nearby, arrange for them to bring meals a few times a week until you are able to cook for yourself again.
You'll also want to arrange your kitchen so you can reach things without stooping, bending, or stretching. Keep dishes and cooking supplies on the counter if you need to so you don't have to bend over or stretch up to get them out of a cabinet.
Ensure Your Sleeping Area is Safe
Soreness from hip surgery along with grogginess from pain medications will make you stiff and unsteady on your feet for a few days. If you have to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, you may trip on a rug or lose your balance. You may want to buy or rent a bedside commode to use at night. It's also a good idea to temporarily remove area rugs and clutter so you don't trip.
Check that your bed is at the right height too. Your feet should be flat on the floor when you sit on the side of the bed. If your bed is too low, you'll struggle to get out of it and put strain on your hip. If it's too high, your weight won't be stable on your feet as you rise from the bed. In addition, your bed should be in an area that is easy to access. If it is upstairs, you may need to move it down to the living room for a few weeks since walking up and down stairs may not be possible right after you get home.
Also, you'll want to make arrangements with your family and friends to help after you have hip surgery. Even if you feel you can take care of yourself, it's still a good idea to have someone check on you daily to make sure you're progressing as you should. Plus, you'll probably be undergoing physical therapy to speed your healing, and you'll need transportation to your therapy sessions as well as your follow up doctor visits. Fortunately, it shouldn't take long for you to regain your mobility. The speed of your recovery depends on your general health, but once healing is underway, you may find your mobility is much improved over what it was before the surgery. With a new hip joint in place, you'll have better range of motion and less pain when you walk.
If you have any questions about getting a hip replacement, contact a local specialist, such as Orthopaedic Associates of Muskegon, to discuss your concerns.