Jul 19, 2018 by David Yeomans
The National Institute of Health estimates that more than a million knee and hip replacements will be performed in the United States this year and this number will rise substantially in the years to come. In the past, many patients went to inpatient facilities for their initial rehabilitation. Today, at-home elder care solutions have been gaining ground as a safe and comfortable alternative – with the proper support.
In addition to the psychological comfort that comes from being in one's own home, studied have been finding that at-home rehab improves the healing process. In fact, a study by the New York Hospital for Special Surgery found that there was "no difference in pain relief or functioning two years after surgery between those who went home and those who entered inpatient therapy"; yet, "at-home patients were less likely than those in rehab to develop complications after hip or knee replacement".
While at-home rehab has many benefits, there are several things to think about:
Mobility. After a senior loved one has a knee or hip replacement they will not be climbing stairs for a time. They may also require the use of a wheelchair or walker and have trouble bending, crouching, and lifting. This makes many daily living tasks challenging or impossible for days, week, and even months after surgery.
Sleeping. If a bedroom is not available on the main floor, a "recovery room" should be set up. This includes a bed of the proper height, plenty of pillows, and comfortable linens.
Toileting. As with the bedroom, a bathroom needs to be available on the main floor. If there is not one, a portable commode will suffice along with sponge bath supplies including basins for washing hair, oral hygiene, and perineal care.
Medications and Pain. Most seniors take 5 or more different medications each day already. Several more may be added after a joint replacement, including pain medications, ointments, and antibiotics. It is important that these medications be taken in the proper dosages, at the correct times, and according to instructions. Many seniors find this challenging, especially during the first few days or weeks. Additionally, ice packs and bags of ice can help ease the pain while controlling swelling and inflammation.
Wound Care. Bandages will need to be changed, ointments applied, incision sites monitored for redness and leakage, etc. This typically requires the help of a caregiver.
Transportation. Shopping, running errands, getting to and from follow-up appointments or therapy – these can all be challenging after a joint replacement. Having local transportation support is an important part of a safe recovery.
At-home recovery is a great advantage for seniors after a knee or hip replacement. Seniors who do not have family or friends who can meet all their needs after surgery can still enjoy the same benefits of an at-home recovery with the support of Comfort Keepers elder care solutions. In fact, Comfort Keepers specializes in hospital to home transitions, housekeeping, and personal care services for seniors.
For more information about the many ways Comfort Keepers can help your senior loved one, contact an elder care solutions coordinator today.
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