Preparing Your Home
Surgery can significantly affect a patient's mobility. You will likely be less mobile after the surgery and with limited use of one of your extremities. You may also be taking new medications that can alter your balance and coordination. Taking the time to prepare your home before your surgery can help to ensure that you are not at an increased risk for falls and that you and your loved ones can easily take care of your needs after surgery.
- Make sure that the general clutter throughout the house is eliminated to avoid uneccesary fall risks.
- Remove tripping hazards such as cords or loose rugs.
- Consider alternative care arrangements for any pets, particularly if they have the potential to jump on you unexpectely or to become a tripping hazard.
- Consider what barriers there are to getting into your home after surgery (gates, steps, etc...) so that you can be prepared to navigate them. If you are staying in the hospital overnight, a therapist will help you practice any maneuvers you will need to use.
- Minimize your slip risk by placing non-skid mats in the tub/shower and bathroom floor.
- Consider obtaining a shower/tub stool to make bathing easier.
- Keep in mind that some incisions need to be kept clean and dry. If your dressing is not waterproof, consider ways to keep it covered while showering such as a taped garbage bag
- Consider whether or not you can easily get in and out of your bed after surgery. Alternative sleeping arrangements such as adding a step stool or making up a sofa bed may need to be considered.
- If your bedroom requires you to go up or down stairs, consider if placing a temporary bed on your home's entry level is a feasible alternative to prevent you from having to go up and down stairs too often.
- Sleeping after surgery, particularly of the shoulder, can be difficult. Some patients find it easier to sleep in a recliner or in a semi-reclined position.
- Depending on what type of surgery you have, you may need assistive devices such as a cane, walkers, crutches, or slings. Usually these will be arranged while you are in the hospital or during your pre-operative appointment.
- Additional assistive devices such as bath seats or raised toilet seats can often be delivered to your home if it is determined that you need them. A care coordinator at the hospital can arrange for this if needed.