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How to Best Care for a Senior After Hip Replacement Surgery

As we age, our bodies naturally become more fragile. So much in fact that it’s not uncommon to hear our doctors say that we need to undergo a surgical procedure like hip replacement surgery. So, what are the signs that it’s time to have that kind of surgery done? Some of them include joint stiffness, immobility, extensive bone damage or simply if your body is not responding to different forms of treatment to repair these issues.

Although surgery can help to relieve this kind of discomfort, it is a good idea to keep in mind that since it comes with risks like blood clotting and infection, if there is a senior in your life who is scheduled to have hip replacement surgery, you need to provide them with the absolute best care following the procedure. If you’d like a few tips on how to assist an elderly person who has had this kind of surgery done, we have provided you with five recommendations below:

Rearrange the house. When someone is recovering from hip replacement surgery, it’s important that they don’t overextend themselves until they are fully healed. So, before your senior comes back home, do a bit of home rearranging. If there are items in shelves that are hard to reach without standing on your toes, move them to a lower one. If their bedroom is upstairs, it’s best to temporarily transfer it downstairs. And, if there’s any furniture that would get in their way as they’re trying to go to the kitchen or bathroom, rearrange it; that way, they can have a clear path to easily move about.

Change their dressing regularly. Before they leave the hospital, their doctor will provide clear instructions on how they should care for their incision; this includes knowing how to change their dressing. Typically, until the incision heals and the drainage stops, it’s best to change the dressing daily. On average, they will need to do this for the first six days.

Monitor their healing process. As their body is in the process of healing, one thing that you definitely don’t want them to experience is an infection. That’s why you need to monitor their healing process. If their temperature goes above 100 degrees or they experience shortness of breath or any sort of chest pains, contact their doctor immediately. It could be the indication of a blood clot developing within their system.

Follow their physical therapist’s instructions. After a couple of weeks, they will be required to see a physical therapist. It’s important that they don’t miss a single appointment because physical therapy will help to strengthen their body and increase their mobility. If all goes well, they should be able to resume normal day-to-day activities within eight weeks.

Be patient. The best kind of care that you could offer a senior who is healing from hip replacement surgery is to encourage them to be patient with the healing process. Being that they could have swelling in their knees, ankles and feet for as much as 4-6 months following their surgical procedure, if you notice any, it’s a good idea to apply an ice pack to their leg (or legs) and elevate them for 20 minutes. It can be tedious at times, but let them know that the more patient they are, they quicker they will heal. For more information on how to help a senior to quickly recover from hip replacement surgery, visit www.orthoped.com.