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After-Care Tips: Hip or Knee Replacement Recovery

By Lesa Hardiman, 5:13 pm on

With today’s senior population continuing to grow at a rapid pace, knee and hip replacements are becoming some of the most commonly performed surgeries in the United States. While technology and advancements in medicine have made these types of surgeries safe and effective options for older adults, after care is an essential component to ensuring the health and continued safety of the patient. If your aging loved one has an upcoming surgery or has recently completed a hip or keep replacement procedure below are some general considerations for at-home care in Grand Rapids.

Pain Concerns

While severity of pain will vary from one patient to another, some level of pain is to be expected after surgery. Adequate pain control can make a big difference in how long it takes your loved one to recuperate, so taking analgesics as prescribed (i.e. not skipping doses) and pre-medicating before physical therapy are important for patient comfort and overall well-being. Doing so will also make the convalescence easier.

Activity and Mobility

Patients who have had hip or knee replacements are walked the same day of surgery if possible, and multiple studies have shown that patients who stay active (without overdoing it) have better outcomes than those who do not. It is important, however, to balance activities with rest and to elevate the affected joint when resting to help with issues like swelling. It is important for seniors and families to speak with their medical team to understand proper activity and recovery procedures and to use this time to ask any questions.

Fall Safety

A fall after a joint replacement surgery can cause serious harm to the senior’s health, in some cases threatening his or her independence or requiring an additional surgery. Using a prescribed cane or walker, keeping the house safe and free of clutter, and using railing or grab bars in the home, for instance, can all help reduce the chance of a post-surgical fall. Keep in mind that your loved one may also need additional monitoring to help prevent falls. If you are unable to provide care 24/7, consider hiring a professional Grand Rapids live-in caregiver who can assist with daily activities and provide careful, around-the-clock monitoring.

Infection Control

Knee and hip incisions heal relatively quickly. However, as long as the incision is open, it needs to be inspected daily for signs of infection (increased redness, pain or swelling at the site) and prescribed wound care should be carried out according to physician instructions. This can greatly decrease the risk of a potentially serious post-surgical infection.

While the convalescent period can sometimes be a long one, following the above suggestions can help avoid complications which can lead to poor patient outcomes. To request free information about post-hospital care for seniors, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Grand Rapids at 616-243-0835 and speak with one of our friendly Care Managers.