Tips for Helping a Loved One After a Joint Replacement
Joint replacement procedures can be challenging surgeries to recover from, leaving seniors requiring additional assistance and support as they heal and get back to their usual routines. The first couple of days post-surgery are typically the most strenuous, as it’s common to feel exhausted and uncomfortable from the pain of the procedure. This can be a frustrating experience, as the individual may feel limited in mobility and discouraged. There are joint replacement care tips that can facilitate the joint replacement recovery process for your loved one, and Placita In Home Care is here to share them with you.
The Basics of Joint Replacement Care
The first step to ensuring thorough care of a loved one with joint replacement care needs is to cover the basics of their care. This means it’s a good idea to prepare their home before they are discharged from the hospital to promote a smooth healing period. It’s recommended to set up their recovery area on the lowest floor of the home for easy access and stock it with any supplies they may need. Common items that may be beneficial include the following:
- Additional pillows to support the joint replacement area
- A commode or urinal beside the bed if the bathroom isn’t easy to access
- A bed that is not too low or too high off of the ground
- Ice packs in the freezer
- Medications in an easy-to-access location
- Crutches, a walker, or other assistive devices
- A notepad or journal and a pen to keep track of questions they may have
- Bandages or dressings for wound care
- Lights with easy, accessible controls
- Clean, dry, and comfortable linens
- A toiletry bag of their essential items
It’s also ideal to stock the fridge full of food and to do a clean-up of the home to remove any clutter or fall-risk items that may be in the way.
Joint replacement care often involves several medications prescribed by your loved one’s healthcare professional. It is essential that these medications are taken on schedule. As your loved one’s caregiver it’s important to monitor and renew any medication that your loved one may need for their recovery. Additionally, it may be beneficial to meet with your loved one’s healthcare professional prior to their discharge to go over their medication to better understand their joint replacement care needs.
As with any surgery, joint replacement procedures leave a wound. It’s imperative as a caregiver to monitor the wound to ensure there is no inflammation or swelling. You will have to change the dressings and handle the medical supplies as needed to keep the area clean and safe. If you notice any discrepancies, such as redness, draining, odor, or swelling, it’s important to seek professional assistance immediately. It’s recommended to create a daily routine that includes wound care and the management of daily medications to ensure nothing is forgotten during your loved one’s joint replacement care.
While your loved one recovers from joint replacement surgery, they most likely will not have the ability to handle housework demands on their own, as they are not to stand, bend, or stretch for extended periods. When possible, take on some of their household work, such as vacuuming, laundry, or meal preparations to facilitate their healing. This will allow them to remain calm and relaxed without disturbing their wound or recovery process.
Plan Meals Ahead
As your loved one recovers, they likely will not have the energy or ability to make meals. It’s a good idea to help them with groceries and to plan meals ahead. Frozen meals are ideal as they can be easily heated. You may also ask friends or family to help by dropping off meals during the initial recovery phase. Remember to choose nutritious foods for your loved one to promote optimal health and wellness during their recovery.
Joint replacement care requires adhering to a rehabilitation plan that often includes walking several times per day for 20-30 minutes. This may be a daunting thought to someone who is experiencing pain throughout their recovery. As their caregiver, make it a point to encourage their recovery by motivating them. Lead with empathy and validate their feelings, but also explain to them it’s normal to feel that way and how they can only improve with rehabilitation. You may also help them keep track of their efforts by creating a chart to record their results and progress as an additional resource to keep them motivated.
Medical Appointment Scheduling
It’s best to keep a calendar of your loved one’s medical appointments to help you stay on top of their demands. Missing one appointment may not seem like a big deal, but it can lead to complications or setbacks. Therefore, it’s essential to pay close attention and mark down their upcoming appointments. Furthermore, the person in recovery will not be able to drive themselves during the first stages of recovery and will rely on you to bring them to their doctor’s office.
Track Questions for Medical Professionals
If this is your first time caring for someone after a joint replacement surgery, it’s normal to have questions. Your loved one may also have questions regarding their healing processes. We recommend keeping a pen and paper nearby to jot down any questions or concerns that may arise and to document pertinent information so you don’t forget to share it with your loved one’s medical professional at their next appointment.
Be Vigilant as They Heal
Joint replacement recovery is straining, and the person going through it will likely be hyper-focused on their recovery. It’s important for caregivers to pay close attention for any changes, as an outside perspective can detect abnormalities that the person recovering may not pick up on. Whether you notice changes in their mental state or physical condition, it’s crucial to reach out to their medical professional right away to address these potential complications.
Keep Track of Paperwork
Joint replacement is an intricate surgery that combines an array of professional services. There are many bills, documents, and reports involved in the process that may begin arriving at your loved one’s home from several different providers. The recovery process for this type of surgery can be strenuous, and your loved one will have a lot to handle and may need assistance keeping track of their important paperwork. By ensuring everything is organized and handled you can avoid the added anxiety and stress of late payments and discrepancies in their paperwork.
Provide Emotional Support
Recovery following a joint replacement procedure can be physically and emotionally taxing. As you handle your loved one’s needs, be sure to offer emotional support as they may feel frustrated or discouraged during this process. Limited mobility can be hard on their self-worth and they may even experience post-surgery depression. Try to remain positive and calm and provide them with support and words of encouragement while being a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen, as they may be feeling many emotions during this process.
Ease the Joint Replacement Care Process With Placita In Home Care
With the right preparation and support, joint replacement care can be a smooth process that greatly benefits your loved one’s healing process. For more information on how you can ease the joint replacement care needs of your loved one, contact the professional caregivers at Placita In Home Care today!