According to UCI Health, by 2030, the total number of hip replacements performed in the United States is expected to have increased by more than 600% since 2005. Over 300,000 surgeries are carried out every year in this country. Considering that so many people will undergo this procedure, a personal care assistant (PCA) helping a family member may need to factor hip replacement recovery into their care plans.
Here are some ways you can help mitigate pain, symptoms, and after-surgery care as part of your role as a PCA.
What to expect after hip replacement surgery
Before you can work out how to administer care after hip replacement surgery, you first need to know what to expect. All surgeries bring a certain amount of pain—and hip replacements are no exception.
On top of that, moving around is likely going to be difficult for the individual, with a lot of stiffness and loss of mobility, especially in the beginning stages of the recovery process. There may also be swelling around the operation area, which will dissipate over time.
What to do immediately after getting home
For the first day after returning home, the recipient of care should rest and get some sleep. It’s vital to allow the person’s body time to recuperate after a stressful surgery, especially if the individual is older.
Make sure to ask medical staff about wound care after hip replacement surgery. Depending on the form of surgery, there may be stitches, staples, or other sutures that will need specific care. Ensure that this is clarified ahead of time or at the earliest possible opportunity.
How to create a safe, comfortable environment for recovery
Because walking can be difficult, you need to make sure that the home environment is as safe as possible for recovery. You don’t want to risk any trips or falls that could hurt the individual who is recovering or damage the hip replacement itself.
Here are a few ideas for preparing the home for recovery after a hip replacement:
- Remove tripping hazards, such as rugs, mats, or footstools
- Upgrade the bathroom with a rail by the toilet to help the recipient of care stand, or a shower chair to make bathing easier
- Prepare with the right tools, like a grabber to make it easier to reach things without standing up
Providing long-term care after hip replacement surgery
Home care after hip replacement surgery doesn’t end after a few days. For some, the recovery period can take several weeks. However, there are some ways to help speed those processes along. Note, remember that before trying any new exercise, you’ll want to consult the clinician first.
- Exercise 20-30 minutes a day, from a few days after the operation. This can simply be going for a short walk at first, depending on pain and energy levels
- Raise legs when sitting or lying down to reduce swelling
- Eat well, including plenty of leafy greens and citrus fruits to keep the immune system strong during recovery
If you have any other questions about how best to help with home care after hip replacement surgery, speak to a member of the Best Care team. We are more than happy to answer any questions you might have about where to begin!