While hip replacement surgery is becoming increasingly common in the UK, every recovery is different. This makes knowing what to expect after a hip operation difficult, with recovery time being dependent on a range of factors. These include the type of prosthetic hip you have, if any other soft tissues were affected during surgery, and whether you have enough support at home.
Although care after hip replacement surgery may seem daunting, it’s important to remember that your post-surgery care team will be on hand to support you in every way possible. And there are a number of things you can do to aid a quicker recovery and return to your normal daily life too, whether it’s controlling pain with medication or participating in physical activity. To find out more about what to expect after a hip replacement operation, read more below.
Care after hip replacement surgery
Whether you’re caring for someone after hip replacement surgery or returning home from hospital yourself, it’s important to prepare for what care at home may involve. We’ve identified some of the key things you should consider as part of your hip replacement care plan:
Recovery begins immediately
Although you will receive antibiotics following surgery to manage pain and ensure no infections occur, it’s important to begin mobilising as soon as possible. The best medicine for preventing post-operative problems is walking, helping to increase circulation to your legs and feet and reducing your chances of getting a blood clot. It’s recommended that you aim for 20-30 minutes of exercise at a time, which may seem like a lot, but will become easier over time. Your first day of exercise may just be getting out of bed and moving to the hallway – but make sure you’re taking advantage of that new level of hip movement!
Physical therapy is key
As part of your hip replacement care plan, your physical therapist will work with you to strengthen your hip and increase your mobility. Depending on your progress, you should eventually be able to return to most of your daily physical activities; but avoid taking on too much too soon and give yourself time to heal. Although it’s important to begin mobilising within the first two weeks following your surgery, you don’t want to put yourself at risk of falls, damaging your new hip and resulting in the need for further operations.
Returning to a daily routine
Once you’re discharged from hospital following your hip replacement surgery, you may require help with simple tasks like meal preparation, cleaning and laundry. Enlisting the help of a family member, friend or carer may help – especially during the first couple of weeks after your operation. If you’re considering care options, our live-in care packages for knee and hip replacements include:
- Assistance with mobilising around your home
- Accompanying you on trips out to ensure your safety
- Preparing nutritious meals
- Personal care, including washing and showering
- Managing medication
- Carrying out domestic tasks
- Help with physical activities
Tips for care after hip replacement surgery
Remove any trip hazards
Slips and falls are among the most common reasons that hip replacement surgery happens in the first place, so it’s important to avoid hospital readmission for the same reason. Certain household items, such as rugs, floor mats and wires, may become dangerous trip hazards, especially during the first couple of weeks when you’re shuffling your feet. It’s advised that you remove these items temporarily, but if you would prefer not to, consider using carpet tape to keep the edges pinned down.
Consider home adaptations
There are a couple of simple home adaptations that can make a big difference when it comes to care after hip replacement surgery, particularly in your bathroom. Fitting a raised height toilet seat can make for more comfortable use, and you should also consider using a shower chair that is higher than average and made from a firm material. Similarly, having a grab rail installed can make it easier to get in and out of the shower.
Keep your legs raised
Keeping your legs elevated can make a big difference when it comes to swelling that can occur post-surgery. Swelling can limit your ability to return to your normal life, so it’s a good idea to use large pillows to raise your legs whilst sleeping. Investing in a good body pillow can also provide comfort, while promoting restful sleep.
Think about nutrition to speed up recovery
A healthy, balanced diet is key to any kind of recovery. We all know that healthy eating and drinking are important for overall health, but they become essential following surgery as your body needs to heal. Ensuring you have a varied diet made up of the right macro and micronutrients is essential, including vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
Home care after hip replacement surgery
If you’re returning home from hospital or caring for someone after hip replacement surgery, we understand that you may require some additional support. Our live-in care services are available on both a long-term and short-term basis, and our friendly team are always on hand to discuss your individual circumstances. To find out more about your care options, contact us today on 0808 274 2312.