Hip surgery is a fairly common surgery for the elderly. If your parent has been struggling with hip pain due to injury, disease, or other reasons, you might have made the decision to have her hip replaced to improve her quality of life. Hip replacement is a surgical procedure in which the diseased parts of the hip joint are removed and replaced with new, artificial parts. The goals of hip replacement surgery include pain relief, increased mobility, and improved hip joint function.
Now that the decision has been made, as a caregiver, you’ll want to prepare by taking some key steps before your parent goes in to get her surgery. Most hospital stays after hip surgery are 3-5 days, so you’ll need to work on getting whatever home your parent is recovering at (whether it’s her own or if she’s coming home with you for recovery) ready for her to transition to home care as easily as possible.
- As with any major surgery, get all the information you and your parent need beforehand about what will all occur during the surgery and afterward in the hospital. Having your parent feel comfortable with her surgery will go a long way in making her recovery smoother.
- Arrange for help for at least the first couple of weeks after your parent is home. A home health care provider can help with household chores as well as some of the physical therapy your parent will need at home. If needed, a home health care provider can also assist with medication monitoring to manage pain as well.
- Arrange for a ride to and from the hospital. If you are unable to provide a ride, ask family members, friends, or even your home health care professional to provide transportation.
- Set up the recovery area at home for your parent. You’ll want to include any items your parent may need frequently while recovering so that she can have easy access. Items might include the TV remote, books to read, a mini fridge and her telephone.
- Have meals prepared. Recovery can be exhausting for both you and your parent. And exhaustion often leads to bad food choices. Talk to friends and family about creating a meal chain to let good Samaritans bring meals over each day. You can also create a bunch of freezer meals that can easily be pulled out of the freezer each night for dinner.
- Once your parent is recovering at home, it’ll be important for her to still follow all the doctor’s orders. Having a home health care provider work with her will ensure that she’s doing the proper exercises, eating correctly, and taking any prescribed medications.
- Recovery will involve taking it slow but steady. Your parent will want to use assistive devices such as an apron to carry things or a walker with a basket to help her maintain her balance as she gets used to her new hip.
- Eat and rest well. Your parent may need to sleep more than normal and that’s okay as her body recuperates from the surgery. She may not have much of an appetite, but you can help by encouraging eating regularly as well as drinking plenty of fluids.
Recovery from a major surgery is always difficult but most people who have hip replacement find they are rewarded with less pain and more mobility, giving them a better quality of life after recovery.