Recently, actor and former governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger underwent an emergency open heart surgery to repair a valve. Initially, the procedure was to be done using catheterization, but complications changed the doctors’ plans. Though Gov. Schwarzenegger’s open heart surgery was done on an emergency basis, often the surgery is planned, allowing the person and their caregivers to prepare. If your aging parent has been scheduled for open heart surgery, knowing what to expect can make the situation easier.
Preparing for Surgery
Your parent’s medical team will provide them with instructions to follow prior to the surgery. Some things that may happen before the surgery are:
- Your parent may be instructed to eat dinner as usual but stop eating or drinking after midnight.
- Depending on the time of the surgery, they will be admitted to the hospital on the morning or afternoon before the hospital.
- Health care professionals might conduct some tests, such as blood tests or an EKG.
- The medical team will prepare the area of the incision.
In addition to following the doctor’s instructions, you can help your parent by packing a bag to take to the hospital. Some things you may want to pack are:
- Comfortable clothing.
- Warm socks.
- A book or magazines for them to read.
- Lip balm, lotion, and toiletries.
What to Expect after the Surgery
Your parent may remain in the hospital for a few days after the surgery. You should expect them to need assistance at home for a while afterward. They will be unable to drive following the surgery, so someone will need to drive them home from the hospital. The doctor will provide instructions for recovery at home, including how to care for the incision to prevent infection.
Your parent will probably have several medical appointments after the surgery, so the doctor can monitor their recovery. They may also be referred to a cardiac rehabilitation program and/or physical therapy.
How Elderly Care Can Help
Having the help of an elderly care provider can make recovering after open heart surgery easier for both your parent and you. An elderly care provider can drive your parent to medical appointments, cardiac rehab, and physical therapy appointments. An elderly care provider can also remind them to take their medications. Your parent may also be on a special diet following surgery. An elderly care provider can help to plan healthy meals and do the grocery shopping. Elderly care can cook meals and clean up the kitchen afterward, ensuring your parent eats well without overexerting themselves.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Columbus, MT, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare today at 406-839-2390.