An Occupational Therapist’s GuideTo Getting Organised For Surgery
Hip and knee replacements are among the most common elective surgeries performed.
While these procedures may seem a little daunting, the benefits (less pain and better mobility) are very positive and exciting.
You can expect a recovery period of about six weeks following either of these procedures. During this time, there will be some temporary changes in your pain and mobility before you achieve the expected positive outcomes.
It can be helpful to plan for this period by setting up your home and making a few adjustments prior to going into hospital for your surgery.
Here are some tips to help set up your home for the days and weeks after surgery:
- Keep things within reach: Place frequently used items at arm level. Setting up your kitchen and bathroom will help you to manage simple tasks without fuss.
- Stock your freezer: Prepare nutritious meals that are easy to reach and reheat without too much hassle. Remember that a balanced diet is important for the growth and repair of your body.
- Know who to call: If you live on your own, organise for someone to pick you up and stay with you, at least for the first week or so after you return home. It’s useful to have a few friends nearby who you can call if needed – so keep your phone handy!
- Tidy up: Cluttered hallways and walkways can make getting around the house tricky, particularly if you are using a walking aid that you are unfamiliar with. Rugs and cords can be trip hazards, so it is worthwhile moving these for the recovery time. It is also useful to keep surfaces such as bench tops and tables clear, so you can easily put down items such as cups and plates.
- Keep it loose: Clothing that is comfortable and easy to get on and off is best after surgery.
- Do your exercises: Keep practising the exercises your physio has given you, both before and after surgery. This will make your recovery time much easier, and help you to achieve better surgical outcomes. Keep your exercise program somewhere easy to see, such as on the fridge door, as a reminder.
Your physiotherapist and occupational therapist will be there to support you after surgery with tips and tricks, to help you get around independently and safely.
Ask your occupational therapist about equipment to help with everyday tasks – such as having a shower, using the toilet or getting dressed – that will best suit you and your needs.
Article written by Tilda Dodson – occupational therapist