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Knee & Hip Problems Message Board

Knee & Hip Problems Board Index

Re: Ho to prepare
Jul 13, 2007
Usually planned hip replacements also include a pre-op appointment with the hospital where they will tell you all you need to know plus give you an opportunity to ask any question you want. But, in case you don't have that opportunity, here are some things that you might consider:
Prepare your house for your homecoming. Make sure there are railings on all your stairs (both sides is even better); clear the clutter - throw rugs, junk that you can trip over should be stashed elsewhere. Move frequently needed articles (think bedroom, bath, & kitchen) to above knee height so you don't have to bend to reach them; this will make you more able to do things for yourself. Arrange for someone to give you rides and/or run errands until you can drive yourself. Arrange for someone to clean your house for awhile (I had hired housekeeping for about 8 weeks). Buy or prepare easy-to-reheat meals for the first week or two so you don't starve. Tip off some friends to come visit; let them know that you'll appreciate their company, even after you start to feel really good but can't drive yet. Line up the place where you'll sleep and sit - equip it with books, mags, the TV remote, a cell phone (carry that in your pocket). Get a bag for your walker so you can tote things around (some people use an apron with pockets).
It isn't impossible to climb stairs, even the day you get home from hospital. My computer was upstairs so I was up there immediately! They don't let you leave the hospital until you're checked out on safe stair climbing. It's not something you'd want to do several times a day but you should be able to manage a couple of trips from day one. Let your instinct be our guide on this matter. Some people do go as for as renting a hospital bed. Optional IMHO but it's your call. Ideally, of course, your bedroom and bath and kitchen would be on the same level. Many people do climb stairs to a bedroom. If you have a bath on the main floor at least you wouldn't have to climb to use the bath during the day. You'll probably be given (or have to rent) a raised commode/toilet that you can set over the fixture. You'll also need some kind of walking aid - such as walker or crutches (I had both). Also, you may be sent home with a reacher, dressing stick, long-handled shoehorn, and other handy tools that you'll need. In preparation, you could arrange for or ask about all these things ahead of time. Frequently insurance covers part or all of the rental or purchase of these items.
Also nice (but probably not covered by insurance): a shower head on a long hose so you can shower seated (you can use the commode chair as a shower seat).
Grab bars in the shower or by the toilet (strictly optional and I didn't bother with these).
Railings on both sides of any steps or stairs (We had these installed and I'm glad we did).
We also bought a new toilet fixture that is higher than standard. This, of course, is optional (and sort of expensive) and you can get around it by using a raised toilet seat. However, five years later, I'm still glad we made the investment. I still like the extra height (I have both hips replaced).
If you have pets, consider the impact of "pets underfoot" as a hazard and arrange for their care ahead of time if necessary. You may even have trouble putting their dish on the floor for awhile!
Some surgeons ask you to donate your own blood before surgery, for transfusion after. You could ask about this if no one has mentioned it already.
If you have really small children, arrange for their care. You won't be able to carry anything (that doesn't fit in a walker bag) while you use a walker.
That's all I can think of. Good luck to you.

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