Taking the time to prepare for partial or total knee replacement surgery can help reduce possible causes of stress during the recovery period.
It’s easy to become so focused on surgery that a comprehensive post-care plan falls by the wayside. But a few simple pre-surgery choices mean you’ll be more comfortable and well cared for while healing.
Prepare your living environment
Is your house or apartment recovery-friendly? The use of crutches or a wheelchair post-surgery means you need to be able to manoeuvre safely and easily around the home during the healing process.
Consider toilet and shower aids that might make simple functions easier. If you can, try out the crutches or type of wheelchair you’ll be using beforehand. Move interior elements such as cords and rugs that increase the risk of a fall.
When planning for post-surgery, options include:
Adding aids to your home
Strategically placed wheelchair ramps and hand rails can make it possible to move more securely around your home.
Recovering with friend or family
Troubled by stairs at home? Staying with someone you know who has a guest room in a single storey living space, would be ideal.
Booking into a rehabilitation centre
If your home is not suitable and you have no available options, speak to us about facilities that offer recovery care.
Organise a caretaker
Do you live alone? Ask a friend or family member to help care for you in the initial weeks following your surgery. If living with others, give them enough notice to reorganise their days so they can help.
Sometimes those closest are unable to commit to providing care. Perhaps friends can assist with shopping or driving duties, while you hire a professional caregiving service to help with other aspects.
Maintain your fitness
“Prehabilitation” refers to efforts to build strength before surgery. If possible, maintain fitness in the lead-up to surgery but take care to modify your exercise routine. Now is not the time to worsen your knee’s condition.
As well as improving muscle tone and stamina, exercise also has a positive influence on the immune system. A weakened immune system contributes to heightened risk of infection, especially in a hospital environment. (Also Read: Exercises to Strengthen Your Knees)
Plan a realistic recovery window
If currently working, be sure to organise a realistic break. Underestimating the recovery period will only place pressure on your fellow workers and employer when it comes time to return, and you’re not ready.
The recovery window matters as your body needs time to heal properly. For those not working but planning to apply for benefits, begin the process in advance, leaving a window of time to source necessary documentation.
Record your medical needs
What medication do you take daily? Any allergies? Who is your healthcare provider, and what is your membership number? Write all pertinent points down prior to surgery, and keep the list on hand.
If instructed to alter certain medications or dosages in the lead-up to surgery, remember to record the correct information for post-surgery, and make this clear on your list. If uncertain, take the time to clarify with your doctor beforehand.