If you have the luxury of knowing that a surgery is coming — maybe you’re having a planned hip replacement, for example — it is important that you help ensure a successful recovery by planning ahead.
Many people choose to recover at home after surgery. That can be a wonderful option for recovery, provided that your house is ready and that you have adequate post-op care.
Here are some areas to consider:
Remove or plan around obstacles. Take some time to look around your house at potential hazards. Stairs — up to a bedroom or even onto a porch — can be difficult to manage. Bathrooms and kitchens, especially when surfaces are slippery, can present trip hazards. It also may be difficult to get into and out of bed.
What to do: Spend some time cleaning potential hazards, such as stacks of magazines or loose-lying electrical cords. Consider renting a hospital bed that can be placed on the first floor, if necessary.
Plan your meals and other food. After your surgery, you probably won’t have time (or be able) to shop. And will you be mobile enough to cook your own meals?
What to do: Before your surgery, ensure you have your needed supplies on hand. Stock your refrigerator and pantry and make a plan for who will cook your meals. Consider calling on friends and family or hiring outside help.
Prepare for safety and security. Depending on the nature of your surgery, you might need help around the house to ensure you have the care you need and that someone is able to help if you need it. Falls can be common after certain surgeries, for example — what would you do if you fell and needed help?
What to do: Make sure you have phone numbers (and a phone) handy for calling people can help. Let some friends and family know what’s going on, and ask them to check in on you. Consider hiring an at-home caregiver who can be with you during the days or nights while you recover.
Get the scoop on rehab and medication. Depending on the type of surgery you have, your doctor likely will give you instructions for medications, rest and activities to help you recover.
What to do: Before the surgery, ask your doctor what might be involved and determine whether you will need help at home or some other accommodations.
Read more: Before and after surgery: Why you might need help at home.