Joint replacement surgery can help relieve pain felt while performing everyday tasks and make it easier to enjoy a healthier, more active lifestyle. As with any surgery, recovery takes time and isn’t always easy, especially as an aging adult. From crafting questions to ask your doctor to planning for recovery, St. Barnabas Health System explores some items you should consider when preparing for knee replacement surgery.

Educate Yourself on the Procedure

The decision to have a total knee replacement is one that requires careful consideration. Your doctors are familiar with your condition and health needs, and they can make recommendations that are in your best interests. If joint replacement surgery seems like the best possible option, take the time to learn about the procedure beforehand. Doing so may provide greater peace of mind. Come to your consultation prepared with some questions. Examples include:

  • What should I do before arriving at the hospital?
  • How long will my hospital stay last?
  • How is the procedure performed?
  • Are there ways I can increase the odds for success?
  • What type of anesthesia will be used?
  • What type of prosthetics will I receive?
  • How long does recovery usually take?
  • What might recovery look like for someone like me?

Your doctors can ease any fears you may have, helping you feel more prepared before and after the procedure. It is also an opportunity to gauge how much help you’ll need during recovery and whether you’ll need additional assistance at home from a professional caregiver.

Planning for Your Return Home

A full recovery may take several months, but there are things you can do to help make this challenging time easier. If you’re planning to recover in the comfort of your home, a home health aide can be invaluable. While you’re focusing on recovering, your home health aide can take care of other tasks, such as:

  • Meal prep
  • Clearing dishes after meals
  • Light household chores
  • Folding laundry
  • Medication reminders
  • Pet care
  • Transportation to and from appointments

Before you go into surgery, you may also want to prepare your home for your return. Work with a friend or loved one to make some changes around the house to help decrease the risk of falls for when your knee is healing. Things you can do include:

  • Install safety handrails in your bath or shower
  • Place a shower bench or chair in the bathtub
  • Install a raised toilet seat
  • Declutter for easier mobility with a cane or walker
  • Purchase a long-handled reach tool for easy access to everyday items
  • Find dressing aids that help make putting on your clothes, socks, and shoes easier

Look Into Skilled Nursing Care Services

If you’re unable to recover on your own at home and will need extensive rehabilitative support, look into skilled nursing care. With a comfortable, compassionate environment, a trained medical team can help make post-surgery recovery and wound care management easier. Skilled nursing care services can help make the transition back to your retirement community or home life an easier one and often include rehabilitative support for your joint-care needs.

St. Barnabas Health System is Here to Help

From home care to physical therapy, St. Barnabas Health System offers a host of resources to aging adults in the greater Pittsburgh area who are recovering from joint surgery. Contact us to learn more information about how we can help make recovery easier for you.

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