The recovery period after a total knee replacement surgery is a critical time. You can typically stay at the hospital for only one to four days. During this period, you will have plenty of rest, and afterward, you will need to start doing physical therapy.
The best thing to do for a successful recovery from a knee replacement surgery is to prepare for it. You won’t be able to have too much time in the hospital to plan for your recovery. Thus, you will need to prepare your home for recovery weeks before the surgery. Here are things that you will need before undergoing knee replacement surgery:
You need to make sure that your home is safe for you to move around in. Your living space must be open so that you won’t trip over anything.
Expect that most of the time you will be using a walker, so make sure that there that every area in the house is prepared for that. Check the measurements of each narrow space in your house and make sure there is at least 3 feet of space through which to walk. Consider moving furniture, removing rugs, and placing electrical cords and wires out of the way. You can also temporarily put things like toys or small tables in storage.
You might also want to do some cleaning in advance. Dusting, vacuuming, and mopping will be off-limits for a while after a knee replacement.
2. Install fall prevention equipment
Apart from decluttering your home, you may need to do some home improvements as well. Even if you are expected to rest most of the time, you’ll inevitably need to move around your house, and some otherwise simple tasks, like going to the bathroom, will be difficult to do as you recover. To prevent you from falling and to help you reach over stuff easier, you may need to do the following:
- Install a handrail in the bathtub or shower and next to the toilet.
- Have a bath mat ready to prevent slipping.
- Use a raised toilet seat.
- Cover outside steps with ramps.
- Add texture to slippery floors.
- Wear non-skid socks.
- Use a walking device until you’re more stable.
- Install nightlights.
3. Prepare a recovery area
Because of your limited mobility, you will be sitting most of the time once you return from the hospital. It would behoove you to have a designated recovery area with a sturdy and comfortable chair to sit in. The recovery area is usually the living room. Make sure that the chair is high enough for you to sit on and get up from easily, with solid arms and a backrest that prevents you from falling. Some chairs have a mechanism that tilts you slightly forward, making it easier to get up.
Ideally, your chair should allow you to rest your legs in front of you. A recliner usually does the trick, but if you do not have one, you can place a sturdy footstool in front of your chair instead. Your recovery area should also contain items within arm’s reach, in case you need them quickly.
Consider having the following items on hand near your chair:
- Phone or cellphone (and charger)
- Television remote
- Bottles of water
4. Move your sleeping quarters
You will need plenty of sleep as you recover. That is why you will need some adjustments in your sleeping quarters as well.
Stairs will be your main enemy as you recover from your surgery. If your room is upstairs, consider relocating to the main floor and convert it into a temporary sleeping quarter.
However, do not spend all your time in bed. It is also important for your recovery to get up and move around. It is also important to maintain regular sleeping hours.
5. Ask for help
Since it will be difficult for you to move and do regular tasks, you may need a friend or loved one to stay with you during the initial recovery period. You may also arrange for in-home care.
Even if you live with other family members, it is good to have an extra pair of hands to help you with the following:
- Changing bandages
- Monitoring your condition post-surgery
- Getting dressed
- Household chores
- Cooking meals
- Grocery shopping
- Paying bills and other related tasks
- Navigating stairs
- Taking care of dependent people in your household, such as children, a spouse or older parents
- Driving you to different places
Ask for help in advance and have an arranged place for them to stay before you enter surgery.
6. Food supplies
Plan a balanced menu with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. These foods may help you improve your mood and help you recover more quickly.
If you live alone, consider the following options:
- Stock up the freezer with ready meals.
- Make sure you have access to online delivery of ready-made food or groceries.
- Enlist the help of a friend or relative for shopping and cooking.
- Invite someone to help you cook and join you in eating. This can help you maintain a social life during recovery.
- Have a chair or stool in the kitchen that you can use to prepare your own food and drinks.
Got a question or anything I can help with? My name is Steve Stretton, and I’m the owner and manager at Gelpacks.com. You can drop me a line here. Good luck!