Hip replacement is a major surgery. Most patients spend at least a few days in the hospital recovering afterward, and then they may be sent to a rehab facility for another couple of weeks. After that, though, they are usually sent home — but they are not usually fully recovered and capable at this point. Having a home care nurse stop by every day can be a great way to ensure hip replacement patients get the care they need once they return home. Here are some of the tasks a home care nurse can help with.
When they return home, many hip replacement patients are still taking pain relievers, but they are at a point where they need to wean themselves off of those pain relievers. A nurse can help guide this transition, setting aside doses each day so the patient always takes the right amount. Since the medications prescribed for hip replacement pain relief are often opiates, which are addictive, having someone else manage their administration can be really beneficial.
It can be hard for someone who has just had a hip replacement to shower or bathe. They are not always comfortable allowing family members to help them with this, either. A home care nurse will have been trained to help a patient bathe in a way that is comfortable and discrete. This service can help prevent infections and hygiene problems as the patient continues to recover.
Someone who has had a hip replacement will need to work with a physical therapist to recover fully. Most of this work will happen during scheduled sessions with a physical therapist. But a patient may also be assigned exercises and movements to do between physical therapy sessions. A home care nurse can help with this, if needed, by supporting the patient, ensuring they do not push themselves too far, and communicating with the physical therapist about the patient's progress.
When they return home, most hip replacement patients still have some sort of bandage over their incision. A home care nurse can help replace this bandage and keep an eye on the incision as it heals, alerting the patient's doctor if there are any worrisome changes.
After a hip replacement, it is a good idea to have a home care nurse make daily visits, even if just for a week or two. Your surgeon should be able to recommend a home care nurse or a nursing agency.
Talk to a hospital that offers home care, such as Elkview General Hospital.