If your loved one is planning to undergo hip surgery, it’s either because all other options such as pain management, physical therapy, and medication have been exhausted; or there has been a medical emergency such as a fracture or dislocation and the first line of care is surgery. Whether your loved one’s hip surgery has been planned for months or must be done in an emergency, expect that recovery may take some time and that you may be part of the equation when it comes to caring for your loved one. Here are some considerations and tips for you if you are caring for a love one after hip surgery.
Preparing for Hip Surgery
- Pre-authorization. You and your surgeon have no doubt this hip procedure is a medical necessity. In fact, it may be the last resort to restore a good quality of life and finally alleviate years of pain. But that doesn’t mean your insurance provider has given the official OK to move forward. Before any procedure gets underway, ensure you have a pre-authorization; also ask if all the specialists who will be assisting – from the radiologist to the anesthesiologist – are also covered and are in your network or plan.
- Speak with the surgeon. Before surgery, be sure to meet with the surgeon or the practice’s surgical coordinator to have a good idea of what is expected before, the day of, and post-surgery. What sort of procedure will take place, and what are the risks or potential complications? How long will the procedure take? Will it be out-patient or inpatient? Be sure to ask any and all questions so there are no surprises.
- Enlist your physical therapist. If your doctor recommends follow-on physical therapy, now is the time to discuss your loved one’s projected treatment plan and start to work out a schedule of appointments. Remember, many physical therapists can work around your schedule, offering early morning or evening hours. Some physical therapists are co-located within your orthopedist’s practice, making it convenient to share records or follow up with your doctor.
- Home set up. Prior to the big day, you’ll want to prepare the space where your loved will be recuperating. It’s best to set up a sleeping and resting area downstairs, even if there isn’t a bedroom. You’ll want to make sure the bed or sleeping area is not too low in height either, as mobility, again, will be a challenge. Since your loved one won’t be mobile, keep everything in reach – that includes their walker or crutches, medications and water, and maybe a bed pan or bed pad for the first few day or two. Don’t forget to keep the remote control, phone and phone charger, as well as the doctor’s numbers handy. You’ll also want to consider any possible hazards around the home. Slippery rugs, obstacles to get around the room, pets, and any other trip hazards should be moved prior to the surgery date.
- At the hospital. Before leaving the hospital or surgery center, your surgeon or nurses will provide instructions and tips to make caring for your loved one easier. If you don’t drive, you’ll need to arrange a ride for you and your loved one. You’ll also want to be clear on the rehabilitation plan so that you can start any stretching exercises that might be recommended post-op.
- Heading home. On the way home you may have to pick up prescriptions; ensure your doctor has called them in ahead of time so you can get home as soon as possible.
- At home. Once home, you’ll likely need to be on-hand for everything. If you can’t be home to care for your loved one on a regular basis, it’s a good idea to prepare some meals for the coming days and weeks. Keep everything within reach since stretching and flexibility will be at a minimum. Lay out the medications for easy access with water on hand. Allow for much needed rest, but be sure to follow the doctor’s orders with regard to movement. Check the surgery site for any complications; monitor the patient for fevers, comfort, dehydration, seepage, and pain.
- Follow- A week or so post-op, you’ll want to follow up with your doctor to see how the recovery is progressing and if there are any modifications you may want to prepare them or the home for.
For those suffering from chronic or acute hip pain, surgery may be necessary to regain motion, alleviate pain, and carry on with the activities we love to do. Dr. William Hefley is renowned for his minimally invasive total hip replacement technique that uses an anterolateral approach which allows the patient to heal faster with less pain. To learn more about possible hip surgery, recovery or caring for a loved one after surgery including on-site physical therapy services, contact Dr. Hefley today (800) 336-2412 or simply use our online request form to schedule your consultation. With offices in Little Rock and North Little Rock, he looks forward to your call.