Are you or your loved one having a planned hip replacement or other surgery? Or maybe you had to undergo an emergency procedure? Either way, you probably have a tough road to recovery ahead of you. You want to make sure that when you come home from the hospital, you are in an environment that promotes healing and reduces re-injury. How do you do that? Our Maryland mobility experts are happy to offer a few tips on getting your home ready for recovery after surgery.
Remove Tripping Hazards
It doesn’t matter if you will be using a wheelchair, a walker or a cane after your surgery. As long as you plan on moving around the house, you need to clear the areas of any tripping hazards, such as:
- Extension cords and electrical cords that can be snagged
- Area rugs that don’t have non-skid bottoms
- Pet toys or child toys
- Uneven flooring transitions
Let There Be Light
It’s easy to bump into furniture when you can’t see where you are going. If you’ve never used night lights before, consider adding a few along the hallways and in the bathroom. But even during the day there may be insufficient lighting in some areas. For example, something as simple as reading directions on a medication container can get frustrating if there isn’t enough light. So add lights where they are missing and replace old light with brighter ones as needed.
Assess Your Mobility Needs
It may be helpful to talk to your doctor or to other people who have gone though the same surgery. This will help you understand how much your movement will get impaired and what you can do to make your recovery more comfortable. Your doctor will probably have a few recommendations, and you are also welcome to speak with one of our mobility specialists to find the right mobility solutions for your needs. Consider adding these items to your home; most of them are not permanent and can be easily dismantled once you are fully recovered:
- Raised toilet seat to reduce the bend in the knees when using toilet
- Grab bars in the shower and toilet areas for extra support
- Standing and transfer aids to help you get in and out of bed
- Lift chair for comfortable lounging and sleeping
- Shower seat and transfer bench for safe and comfortable bathing
Make Rental Arrangements
Because you expect to fully or mostly recover from your surgery, you won’t need to buy the pricey mobility equipment that people with chronic issues use. You can rent items like wheelchairs, mobility scooters, lift chairs and even wheelchair ramps. Freedom Mobility offers all of these products for rent in our Hanover, MD office. Call us to make arrangements before your surgery, and we’ll deliver and install everything in time for your release from the hospital.
Move Everything Important Down
When you are recovering from surgery, you typically have a very limited range of motions in the beginning. It can be painful, if not impossible at first, to walk up the stairs or reach the top shelf to grab a plate. So the best approach is to move everything important to the waist/shoulder level—you don’t want to be bending too low either. If you will be in a wheelchair for the first stage of your recovery, then make sure everything is accessible from a seating position. The key items you should consider moving:
- Medications and medical supplies
- Cups, plates and silverware
- Food in the fridge and pantry
- Remote controls
- Books, magazines and other entertainment
- Toiletries and personal care items
If your home’s layout allows it, it may be best to make the ground floor your main living quarters. If your only full bathroom is on the second floor, consider installing a stair lift (it actually attaches to the stairs and not the wall, so it can be easily removed later).
Stock Up and Get Ahead on Chores
If you will have a caregiver or a relative helping you during these tough times, then you can probably skip this step. However, if you are on your own or get help only a few times a week, you may need to make some preparations:
- Stock up on canned food, frozen meals and snacks. If you cook, make a few weeks worth of meals in advance and freeze them.
- Wash your bedding and towels to make sure you have 2-3 extra bedding sets ready to use.
- Get single-use dishes, cups and cutlery, especially if you don’t have a dishwasher.
- Stock up on toilet paper, shampoo, toothpaste and other essentials.
Once you complete all of these steps, you will feel rest nervous about the surgery and more prepared for the recovery. If Freedom Mobility can help you in any way with your preparations, please don’t hesitate to contact us!