Pre-planning for elective surgery can make life easier for patients

Alvin Sparks knew he had some work to do in order to get ready for total hip surgery.

He got rid of chairs in his home that rolled and added a La-Z-Boy that lifts him. Throw rugs had to go, and his bathroom was equipped with bars that he could grip getting in and out of the shower.

Along with preparing his house, his surgeon and rehab services manager at American Senior Communities, Maria Newsom, had a list of things he needed to do.

Alvin started an exercise program to strengthen his hip muscles. He made sure his diet was healthy and he was instructed to get enough sleep.  According to the website Everyday Health, there are a number of things to consider before having surgery:

  • Know and ask about your anesthesia
  • Know what’s expected in rehab and post-surgery
  • Consider getting help
  • Make a list of your medicines and keep them handy
  • Keep a phone close by

Newsom says patients have a much easier time in rehab if they just take the time to prepare.

“We encourage them to set up their environment, where they are going to be,” says Newsom.

She also encourages her patients to use any number of inexpensive devices, which can help them keep their surgery site stable. A leg lifter can be critical when a patient needs to move the leg while sitting.

“You sit down,” says Newsom, “and put the loop over your foot.  You hold the other end, where the handle is, and you’re able to move your foot around.”

Other devices which are handy include a grabber, which is a long-handled pincer that can be used to pick up a cell phone. Long-handled sponges are useful in showers, and shoe helpers can pull a sneaker off the foot. A long-handled shoehorn helps a patient to put a shoe on.  A free standing toilet seat with handles can be invaluable for the surgery patient recovering at home.

Alvin expects to be home by mid-December.  He’s walking without a cane and looking forward to a healthy, happy Christmas, thanks to preparing for his surgery.

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