Hip replacement can be a very painful, and tiring procedure. Even after the surgery, there can still be lingering pain when the effects of painkiller wore off. Hence, it is important to be prepared so that your parent will have reduced pain and speedy recovery after their surgery. Here are some commonly asked questions regarding post-operative hip replacement recovery.
1. What changes should I make to my home to facilitate recovery for a post-op patient?
Install grab bars or safety rails in your parent’s bathroom.
Invest in a stable chair with a firm back, armrest and a firm seat cushion that allows your parent’s knees to be positioned lower than his hips. This helps in faster recovery.
Implement an elevated toilet seat so that your parent avoids hip flexion greater than 90 degrees (a right angle).
Use a stable shower chair or bench for bathing and a long-handled sponge and shower hose.
Get a dressing stick, a sock aid, and a long-handled shoe horn for putting on and taking off shoes and socks without excessively bending the new hip.
Purchase a reacher grabber tool / reacher that will allow your parent to grab objects without bending his hips excessively.
Remove all loose carpets and electrical cords from the areas where your parents walk at home.
2. Can my parent drive after the operation? What are some of the activities that he can or cannot do during post-op rehabilitation?
Car: Patients are advised not drive for at least 6 weeks after surgery. When getting in or out of a car, it is essential that your parent keeps their leg straight and out to the side. Your parent should not drive while on medication and should discuss returning to driving with your operating surgeon beforehand.
Chairs: Care must be taken to not lean forward when getting into or out of the chair. Your parent should keep his legs and knees apart, and avoid excessive movement at the hip joint. At home, he should use chairs with arms to assist in getting into and out of the chair. Place one or two pillows in the chair seat in order to keep your parent’s hip from flexing. Avoid chairs that are too low. His hips should be higher than his knees when he is sitting.
Bathroom: An elevated toilet seat will be required for at least 6 weeks after surgery. In addition, while your parent will not be able to take a bath for 6 weeks, he can take a shower or sponge bath (using a sponge to scrub only). Your parent may sponge bathe at a sink. He can wash his feet with a long-handled sponge, and dry them with a long beach towel. A shower seat may also be useful if you can add it to your parent’s walk-in shower or bath tub.
Clothing: Use the devices provided by the occupational therapist (sock donner, long shoe horn, reacher grabber tool) for at least 6 weeks. These assistive devices are helpful in dressing and will help your parent maintain hip precautions. Wearing shoes can also be facilitated by using elastic shoe laces or Velcro closures.
3. What types of exercise are most suitable for someone with a total hip replacement?
You should talk to your parent’s doctor or physical therapist about developing an appropriate exercise programme. Most of these programmes begin with safe range-of-motion activities and muscle-strengthening exercises.
Avoid high-impact (when both feet are off the ground) activities, such as basketball, jogging, and tennis. These activities can damage the new hip or cause loosening of its parts.
Less rigorous exercises are recommended such as walking, stationary bicycling, swimming, and cross-country skiing. These exercises can increase muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness without injuring the new hip.
4. What are some recommended diet for post-surgery patients?
Your parent should be able to resume their regular diet once they are discharged from the hospital.
Your parent’s doctor may recommend that they take iron and vitamin supplements.
Your parent may be advised to avoid Vitamin K supplements or food rich in it as it can reduce the effectiveness of certain blood thinner medications, such as warfarin (Coumadin) if they are taking it. Foods rich in vitamin K include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, liver, green beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, soybeans, soybean oil, spinach, kale, lettuce, turnip greens, cabbage, and onions.
Get your parent to continue drinking plenty of fluids, but try to limit coffee intake and avoid alcohol.
You should continue to watch your parent’s weight to avoid putting more stress on the joint.
We understand that caregiving responsibilities may be challenging and taxing, especially when it comes with the emotional afflictions of taking care of a loved one.
Here at SilverAlly, we combine the highest quality of healthcare assistance with exceptional patient and family-oriented services. We take care of your every medical needs from pre- to post- surgery, every step of the way to serve the unique needs of every single patient so that you can rest easy, knowing that your loved one is in capable hands.
Want more details on post-operative hip replacement recovery for your ageing parent? Call SilverAlly at 626-515-00 for a free consultation.