Clinical Pearl #10: Surgical Preparation
In this next section of education, we move from the what, whys and hows, to help you with the next step, surgery. Below are some ideas for surgical preparation, regardless of which procedure(s) you may be undergoing. In sections to come, we discuss more specifics related to the procedures.
Support System for Post Hip Surgery Recovery
Whether you are preparing for a hip scope, or the complexity of more than one procedure, having a “team” in your corner is SO important. What do I mean by a team? How much of a support system do you have? Family, friends, work colleagues to name a few. Do you live alone? Whether you do or don’t, who can you depend on for things such as helping you dress, bathe or put on shoes when your post operative precautions don’t allow you to bend more than 90 degrees? How do you transport things around your home when you are using a walker or crutches? How do you prepare meals? Having a support system within your home to help minimize these stressors is so important. By not having to worry about every little detail when you return home, you can put your energy into yourself and healing instead of these details stealing from your energies.
Home Considerations after Hip Surgery
Think about your home situation when you return from surgery. Do you have stairs to enter your home? How many levels is your home? Where is the laundry located? Having to maneuver up and downstairs multiple times daily will be quite fatiguing, especially if you may be non weight bearing on your surgical side. Do you have smaller throw rugs on which your crutches could slip? What about children’s toys you could potentially step on? Is your side of the bed accessible with crutches? Do you have a pet? Does that pet need care you won’t be able to provide? Who can help you? Preparing ahead of time with ways to help ensure your safety upon return will be beneficial.
Driving after Hip Surgery
What about driving? Regardless of which hip is the surgical one, so long as you are on narcotics for pain management, be prepared to not drive. This includes errands, school drop off/pick ups and appointments related to your recovery. Please consult your physician when you should expect to drive, especially if your surgical side is your right. When you resume driving, I suggest you inquire about a handicap parking pass. If you are uncertain of your capabilities, and are released to drive, you may try to go to a parking lot to work on driving skills with plenty of room to maneuver.
Recommended Medical Equipment after Hip Surgery
Will I need special equipment at home? It is possible that some smaller equipment could be sent home with you from the surgical center or hospital, but not always. Will I go home in a brace? Other items to consider include:
- A foot grabber
- Reacher to help pick items up off the floor
- Shower bench
- Toilet seat riser (especially if you do NOT have an ADA toilet)
- Crutches prior to surgery so you can take them with you for discharge, and practice using prior to surgery.
- Bedside commode (more for those preparing for a PAO and/or DFO).
- Hospital bed (for PAO and/or DFO), and can it be on your main level to minimize stairs?
Returning to Work after Hip Surgery
I'm off work, but for how long? I encourage you to seek assistance from your human resources department to see what you qualify for with time off. Have you worked long enough to use FMLA? Do you need, or have access to, short term disability? When should I go back? I always advise patients to discuss this with the surgeon. How physical is your job? Do you you need to be able to lift a certain amount of weight to return to work? Can you return back with or without work restrictions? Can you work from home? How much sitting is required to work? I personally do not recommend patients returning to emails with work until the "brain fog" with medications has subsided, and you are off all pain medication. All of these are things to consider and help gauge your recovery. Open conversations with your HR department and your physician will assist in your post operative recovery and expectations.
While this section is not exhaustive, it should help wrap your brain around areas for preparation. Please work with your physician and his/her team with any further questions or concerns leading up to your procedure. They may have more information for you.