Hip replacement surgery is one of the most common medical procedures in the United States.
On average, doctors perform half a million of these surgeries every year—and due to factors such as age and arthritis, most of their patients are seniors.
And while a hip replacement can very well improve a person’s quality of life, it’s important to take the right steps during recovery. Furthermore, because senior patients can be frail, extra care is needed.
Precautions to Take Before Surgery
Before your parent goes into surgery, set up a comfortable sleeping space on the first floor of the house, and preferably as near as possible to a bathroom or other area(s) he or she will need to access frequently.
It’s also a good idea to set up a comfortable chair (not too high or low) within easy reach of items such as reading materials and the TV remote. You may also want to add a handle or bar in the shower.
Also, make sure the paths your parent will be maneuvering along are free of debris and obstacles, e.g., rugs, bulky furniture or children’s toys. If there’s a pet living in the home, you may want to make sure it’s relegated to a specific area of the house and out of your parent’s way.
Caring for Your Parent after Surgery
While doctors will give your parent instructions on modifying some everyday tasks (e.g., getting dressed and getting into the bathtub), it’s important for you to help him or her complete these tasks if needed (especially at first).Give your parent the recommended dosage of pain medication as needed, and monitor pain levels to gauge recovery.
Make sure your parent elevates his or her legs on a regular basis, using pillows and blankets to prop up the legs. This will speed up the healing process and provide comfort. You can also apply an ice pack directly to the affected area to reduce swelling.It’s also important to be aware of hip implants that could be dangerous. Companies such as Stryker and DePuy have been in the news because of their problematic metal-on-metal hip implants, which have been known to cause metal poisoning. While it’s unlikely your parent received a faulty implant if he or she has had surgery recently, it’s still a good idea to speak with your parent’s doctor about the specific implant and its known complications.
Guest Blogger Jen Juneau is a staff writer for Drugwatch.com. She thrives on encouraging others to educate themselves about drugs, surgery and other medical options.