Post-surgical care caregivers' space blog hey zindagi

Planning for Post-Surgical Care at Home: A Checklist

March 07, 2018

A surgery is undoubtedly a complicated procedure for the patient as well as the family members and primary caregivers. Generally, we tend to pay more attention to the preparations leading to the surgery and often overlook the need for planning for post-surgical recovery at home. If plans are made in advance, caregivers can avoid the challenges that crop up on bringing the patient home.

It must be remembered that post-surgical rehabilitation is a steady process that demands constant assistance and monitoring on part of the Caregivers. Especially for seniors, the recovery process can be further delayed by certain age-related health issues and already existing medical conditions like Arthritis, Diabetes and high blood pressure among others.

Here's a quick list of 10 Important Actions to Plan For when bringing a loved one home after a surgery.


1. MAKE A TO-DO LIST

dr. know blog hey zindagi post surgical recovery man making a to do listThe foremost step for caregiving is to carefully prepare a list of all the things that need to be done and also the schedule to be strictly followed after the patient gets home from the hospital. Talk with your doctor and note down all the important advice regarding medication, diet, sleep timings and other assistive procedures; all of which are important for better recovery. Then prepare a daily schedule accordingly, keeping in mind the habits and needs of your patient along with the professional advice.


2. PREPARE THE HOME

This is a step that should be planned as per the nature of the surgery.

  • If it is a complicated knee/hip/leg surgery which puts a constraint on the mobility of the patient, then rearranging the furniture to allow more space for the movement of the patient might be considered.
  • In case the patient’s bedroom is upstairs, an arrangement should be made for a well-managed room on the ground floor until the patient has recovered well enough to use the stairs.
  • If the flooring is of highly polished marble or granite, anti-slip floor polish might be used for preventing slips and falls in the dry zones. Similarly, anti-slip tapes are ideal for the stairs (in case of movement) and an anti-skid floor solution should be applied in the bathroom.
  • Additional supports such as grab bars must be present in bathrooms and key turning spots in the normal movement spaces.

dr. know blog hey zindagi post surgical recovery prepare your house well-decorated living room with furniture

  • For preventing accidents at night, portable led lamps (solar-charged), can be placed as night lights or in the bathroom. They emit a soft glow and don't stun the eyes of the patient, especially for those who have had eye surgery.

 


3. KEEP SUPPORTIVE AIDS READY

Often, certain assistive aids are required for performing normal daily activities post a critical surgery.

  • If the patient has been advised complete bed rest, an Adjustable Backrest should be used especially in cases of spinal or lower back surgery. Buckwheat Hull Pillow and Bolster Cushion which conform to the body shape of the user will be helpful for comfortable sleep and sitting. Similarly bed-raisers reduce the degree of effort required for sitting and standing up when necessary for both patient and caregiver
  • Abdominal Binders provide necessary comfort and heat retention therapy for quicker healing in patients after an abdominal surgery.
  • Adult diapers are extremely useful to reduce the strain of the patient from responding to frequent bathroom needs or those who have developed post-surgical incontinence.
  • Using a wheelchair is common among patients who have undergone surgery in the lower part of the body. In most cases, a toilet seat raiser will make using the bathroom easier for the patient as it increases the height of the seat for easier sitting and standing.
  • Self-help aids like button and sock aid will help the patient to button their shirt or put on socks with minimal effort. Ergonomic hairbrushes and combs are useful for independent personal grooming which will boost the confidence of the patient.
  • Aluminium based Walking Sticks and Walkers ensure support while being light-weight for moving about during rehabilitation phase.

4. MANAGING THE MEDICATION

Medication is perhaps the most important part of post-surgical recovery and should be managed with extra care. Most often, the senior patients face difficulties in remembering to have their medicines on time. Therefore,  caregivers must pay extra attention to help them remember to take the prescribed medicines. Preparing a medicine chart, buying a weekly pill planner and table cutter, setting reminders on their own phones are some steps that prove helpful in proper medication management on coming home after a surgery.


5. PLANNING THE MEALS

Proper diet is a significant part of post-surgical recovery. Hence:

  • A diet chart must be made in advance in consultation with an authorised dietician taking note of the dietary requirements of the patient, pre-existing medical conditions (like diabetes, gout etc.) and aiming for speedy rehabilitation.
  • This properly balanced diet should be complemented with fixed meal timings.
  • The meals must be home-cooked, low in oil and spices so that they do result in stomach/digestive ailments

    dr. know blog hey zindagi post surgical recovery diet chart what to eat , what not to eat, dos and don'ts

    • Caregivers should ensure that the patient eats the meal properly as often post-surgical complications result in a weakened appetite. In such cases, the doctor must be consulted immediately.
    • Caregivers can always feed the patient but if the patient has been advised moderate independence for eating, it must be encouraged. In that situation, anti-slip cutlery grips and specialised feeding aids  might be useful

      6. CONSTANT MONITORING

      dr. know blog hey zindagi post surgical recovery constant monitoring, red light bulb glowing in emergencyA major necessity, that is sometimes not prioritized by caregivers, is to monitor the patient’s blood pressure, pulse rate, sleep pattern and appetite to look out for any abnormality which might be of concern and demands immediate medical attention. For proper and easy monitoring of blood pressure at home, automatic blood pressure monitor is a must-have. Non-Contact Thermometers help in keeping a check on body temperatures in case of fever without disturbing the patient.

      A pulse oximeter is a tool to monitor oxygen saturation level and pulse rate to prevent intensive post-operative trauma in patients who have undergone a critical surgical procedure with general anaesthesia.

      Caregivers must make sure that they are accessible to the patient at all times. If the patient is facing certain speech difficulty and is unable to alert in time for any need, an alternative way of reaching the caregiver such as alarm systems, call bells, etc. should be put in place.


      7. ORGANIZING THE CALENDAR AND PHONEBOOK

      dr. know blog hey zindagi post surgical recovery man marking dates in calendarTaking full-time care of a loved one post-surgery requires a complete change in your itinerary as a caregiver. The first thing to be done is pre-arranging your calendar beforehand marking the dates for doctor visits, post-surgical medical examinations or other assistive procedures like physiotherapy. Always make sure to accompany the patient during visits to the doctor or clinic.

      It is advised that you keep the contact details of the hospital, ambulance, doctor, clinic and physiotherapist at hand. Also, keep in regular touch with other family members and relatives to get help anytime the patient needs it.


      8. ALWAYS HAVE A BACKUP PLAN

      dr. know blog hey zindagi post surgical recovery back up plan for caregiving, one yellow door among four other white doorsCaring for a parent or a grandparent can be a critical and cumbersome task sometimes which is often not realised by most of us beforehand. So you should always remember that you are not alone and it is best advised to get help if you think you are unable to manage everything properly. Often, certain critical procedures need to be performed on a daily basis which requires precision and professionalism. In that case, getting a nurse or a professional healthcare provider from any reputed organization is the best option. Career needs put certain limitations on full-time caregivers, for which, coordination with other family members like caregiving in alternate days is recommended.

       


      LOOKING FOR DAILY LIVING TOOLS THAT HELP AFTER A SURGERY? Click here


      9. EMOTIONAL SUPPORT

      dr. know blog hey zindagi post surgical recovery emotional support to the patient, old man smiling with baby Above everything, perhaps the assurance which aids most during post-surgical recovery is consistent emotional encouragement from the Caregivers and family members. The constant presence and support of a loved one is an absolute necessity apart from medication or assistive procedures, for a speedier recovery.

      The caregivers should also encourage the patients to gradually start performing certain normal daily activities by himself or herself like eating, using the washroom, bathing, dressing and walking. Daily living aids can be helpful in this case.

      Caregivers should ensure that the patient is happy. Engaging in heartful conversations, encouraging them with positive thoughts are necessary for their better health. If the doctor recommends, you can spend time outdoors with your loved ones in gardens or parks for refreshing their mind and body.

      Hobbies and recreational activities are a big help during rehabilitation to aid in faster healing. A free hand document holder is best for senior patients who enjoy reading newspapers. Light Indian or Western classical music might provide relaxation and mental peace to the patients as per their taste. For seniors with a knack for knitting and sewing, ergonomic crochet hooks, loom sets etc. will allow them to enjoy their hobby with much less exertion.


      10. CARING FOR YOURSELF

      dr. know blog hey zindagi post surgical recovery self care, books, tea and relaxing in sunlight

      As caregivers, we often tend to ignore self-care. While caring full time for our loved one is that we should also make time to care for ourselves. Caregiving sometimes can turn out to be an arduous and emotionally taxing process which might unintentionally be reflected in our behaviour towards the patient. It is extremely unfavourable for rehabilitation if the patient finds the caregiver unhappy or frustrated. So alongside caregiving, remember to set aside some time of the day to yourself and nurture your personal relaxing activities. Remember, your smile is the best medicine to help your ward to recover faster.

      Caring for a patient who is coming home after a surgery is indeed an important part of the entire rehabilitation process. Therefore, it must be practised with utmost patience and empathy. We hope this checklist will help you plan in advance to provide the best care for your loved one.


      By Sayantani Nath

      Guest Author and Student of Biology


      Bibliography




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