Getting Your Home Ready for a Smooth Recovery After Joint Replacement Surgery

African American woman in comfortable sweats sitting on a couch in her living room, leg on an ottoman with bandages on her knee and leg, post surgery. She is writing in a notebook and working on a computer with crutches at arms reach. - Dr. Herrick J. Siegel
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Undergoing joint replacement surgery is a major life event that requires extensive preparation, both physically and mentally. An often overlooked but critical part of the preparation process is getting your home ready to accommodate your needs after surgery. Setting up your home properly beforehand can greatly impact your ability to navigate daily activities comfortably and safely during recovery.

This comprehensive guide covers key areas of the home to address and provides tips to help you proactively prepare your environment. With some thoughtful arrangements and sensible precautions instituted in advance, you can optimize healing and facilitate a smooth transition home after your joint replacement.

Assess Entryways and Flooring for Safety

It is important to thoroughly assess all entryways, walking paths and flooring in your home. Clear wide pathways between rooms by removing any clutter or furniture obstructions. Evaluate all flooring and area rugs – securely fasten any loose carpeting or remove throw rugs that could cause tripping. Install temporary ramps at entry or exit doorways if needed. Apply non-skid tape to hardwood floors or stairs if they are slippery. Proper lighting is also key – install night lights or motion sensor lights in hallways and rooms.

These measures establish safe, well-lit walkways that can accommodate mobility equipment like walkers or crutches. They reduce trip hazards and allow you to confidently navigate your home during the recovery period.

Designate a Main Floor Recovery Area

Choosing a comfortable spot like a recliner or couch on the main floor as your central recovery area is recommended after joint replacement. This space should contain everything you need within arm’s reach. Place a table next to the chair for items like glasses, medications, reading material and electronics. Charging cords for phones/tablets should be close by.

You may want to add a rolling cart stocked with water, nutritious snacks and ice packs. A portable commode nearby limits difficult trips to the bathroom. This recovery zone lets you comfortably attend to daily tasks without excessive movement and strain on your new joint.

Prep the Bedroom and Bathroom

Ideally, set up sleeping accommodations on the main living floor to avoid using stairs. Furnish this space with extra pillows, blanket and phone/tablet charging station. In the bathroom install grab bars, shower seats, elevated toilet seats and slip-proof mats in the tub/shower. Also place toiletries, towels and clothing within easy reach.

Having access to a comfortable, safe sleeping area and bathroom on one floor simplifies daily hygiene and provides peace of mind.

Stock Up on Nutritious Food and Extra Supplies

Shop for healthy frozen meals, canned goods and pantry staples before surgery to minimize trips to the store after. Meal delivery services are wonderful options too. Make sure you have enough cold/hot packs, pain medication, wound care supplies and toiletries to last at least 2 weeks.

Stocking up eliminates worry about running out of food or medical necessities during early recovery.

Secure Reliable Transport and Home Support

Arrange for a family member or friend to assist with transportation to medical appointments, errands and social engagements in the weeks following surgery. If live-in support is not available, schedule in-home care services to assist you with daily activities like bathing, meals and medication management. Consider pet care if you cannot meet your pet’s needs temporarily.

Lining up transportation and household assistance provides comfort knowing your daily needs will be met while you heal.

Institute Sensible Precautions

Take some time before surgery to tie up any loose ends around the house – pay bills in advance, tended to any pet needs, notify employers about your timeframe for medical leave. Build up an emergency contact list and place it by the home phone and in your cell phone. Let close neighbors know you will be recovering from surgery in case urgent help is needed.

These small acts of preplanning give peace of mind that responsibilities and affairs are taken care of, allowing you to focus fully on your recovery.

Consult Your Orthopaedic Surgeon

Every surgery and recovery process is unique. Open communication with your orthopaedic surgeon allows customization of your home setup and post-operative plan based on your individual needs. Your surgeon can provide tailored guidance on navigating daily activities after surgery and recommendations on facilitating the healing process.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – being proactive about home preparations before surgery leads to an easier recovery. Evaluating your environment, instituting sensible modifications and securing assistance establishes the framework for effectively transitioning home after joint replacement surgery. The time invested upfront organizing and planning allows you to focus fully on healing in the comfort of your own home.

As you consider joint replacement surgery, the experts at Siegel Orthopaedics in Birmingham, Alabama are fully committed to your successful surgical outcome, seamless recovery and return to the activities you love. Dr. Herrick J. Siegel, offers personalized guidance at every step of the treatment process, drawing from over 20 years of experience as an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in joint preservation, replacement and reconstruction procedures. His expertise and compassion helps patients navigate their journey with confidence. Please reach out to Dr. Herrick J. Siegel to learn more about joint replacement surgery and home preparations for recovery.