Recovering completely from knee replacement surgery can be painful, particularly if you don’t have the support of friends and family. The first few days at the house are the hardest for many people. They may be annoyed or afraid since getting around and doing things on their own is difficult.
It is when you, as a caregiver, are needed the most. As you adjust to your new job, it’s crucial to be patient with your dear one. Here are six things you need to do to make the transition go as smoothly as possible.
- Start with the basics.
Preparing the house ahead of time can aid in the recovery process. Set up a recovery room keeping in mind the following:
- Pillows for moving the lower leg
- A bedside commode if the restroom is unapproachable
- A bed that isn’t excessively high or too low off the ground
- Ice packets for the knee
- A phone, or cellphone and a charger, to call for help
- Available and neatly arranged medications
- A walker or crutches
- Clean, dry linen
Ensure you have enough food and that items are easily accessible. Items on the floor that could cause a slip should be removed.
It is difficult for the person you’re caring for to stand, sit, or move from room to room. You may need to assist them in getting around and completing daily tasks such as meal preparation or personal hygiene.
- Assistance with medication and wound care
The individual must take all medications as prescribed by their healthcare team. You may need to assist in gathering medicines, ensuring they are taken as per the prescription, and monitoring and renewing prescriptions from the pharmacy. Meet with the person’s doctor if possible before beginning outpatient care. They can discuss what medications they require and answer any questions you may have for them.
You should also keep an observation on the wound for swelling and inflammation. It may entail changing dressings and obtaining medical supplies such as bandages as needed. Seek medical attention if the injury becomes redder, swollen, drains, or emits a foul odor.
- Assist with medical appointments
Keeping a schedule can help you keep track of the person’s daily needs and their appointments. Missing an appointment may result in setbacks or other complications. The person you’re caring for will most likely be unable to drive for 4 to 6 weeks after surgery. It means they’ll have to rely on someone else to take them for the checkups.
If any problems arise between appointments, then contact the healthcare team. It could include inquiries about:
- Medicines or strange reactions to them.
- Increased pain
- Swelling or drainage from the incision
- Incidents of breathlessness or pain in the chest
- Motivate the patient for rehab and exercises.
It is critical to stick to a rehab plan. For many, this entails going for a 30-minute walk, two or three times per day. Doctors may advise patients to do extra exercise for 20 to 30 minutes two or three times per day.
Walking or exercising may be painful for the individual. It is perfectly okay. However, if they express their desire to discontinue the rehabilitation plan, remind them that their feelings are normal and that rehab will help them recover faster.
- Keep up with paperwork.
Knee replacement is a complicated process that necessitates the assistance of several professionals. It will increase the paperwork, such as bills and medical records.
Getting behind on paperwork and bills can exacerbate the stress. Keeping track of papers can allow the person you’re caring for concentrate on their recovery.
File everything in a folder or use a big binder with tabs for each correspondence to keep things organized.
- Physical Activity
Restored joints may not support the entire body weight right after knee replacement surgery . The surgeon will advise how much weight the knee can comfortably bear without causing damage, injury, or dislocation. With time, a new knee joint will build strength. It is best to walk with a cane or crutches for the first few weeks. Other guidelines for good body posture and physical activity are as follows:
- Avoid twisting or crossing legs.
- Sit in chairs with seats that are at least as high as the injured knee.
- Do not stretch the sitting for more than an hour at a time.
- Do not sleep on the side of the body where the surgery happened.
- Only ascend one stair at a time.
- Avoid kneeling for long periods.
The Bottom Line
Preparation is key to successfully caring for someone who has undergone knee replacement surgery. The person you’re caring for will most likely require daily care from you or someone else, but they will need less support after a few weeks. Returning to normal activities can take up to three months, and regaining normal knee strength can take six months.
Caring for someone else can be difficult. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and make sure you take time to care for yourself and the patient.