The road to mobility following a hip replacement or knee surgery is not a short one, but with the right post-surgical care and support, full recovery is something to look forward to…with a little help from the experts.
A big operation for any one, at any age, hip and knee replacement and repair surgery is extremely commonplace, with doctors in the US alone replacing more than one million hips and knees every year.
If you’ve been living with chronic pain and stiffness that makes everyday tasks difficult or affects your life on a day-to-day basis, or if you have a deformity where the joint is swollen or the leg bowed, then surgery can be life changing.
Many people focus primarily, and naturally, on the surgery itself, but it is the post-surgery period and your personal recovery plan that is key to resuming full mobility and the ability to enjoy life to the max.
Doreen Setenane, Clinical Manager at Emirates Home Nursing heads up the team responsible for looking after patients once they come out of hospital and has taken care of hundreds of hip and knee replacement clients.
Before leaving the hospital, the patient should generally be able to get in and out of bed unassisted or with minimal help; be able to eat, drink and use the bathroom; walk with an assistive device such as a cane, walker or crutches; and ideally be able to climb up and down two or three steps.
After an average three to four-day stay, they are then ready to begin the healing process at home and Doreen recommends that the family’s first consideration is the home environment.
“Limited initial mobility means that you may need to have a ramp installed for easy access, especially if there are entry stairs. We also suggest installing an adjustable toilet seat so less bending down is required, and grip mats are a must to avoid falls,” she says.
“Other home and mobility aids help reduce the stress on surgical areas and also ensure personal safety; and these include crutches, walking sticks, shower chairs and commodes,” she adds.
The UAE’s hospitals usually provide patients with a helpful ‘stages of recovery’ information brochure that is designed to work hand in hand with any specific doctor/hospital recovery plan.
“Other areas that we need to be aware of include complications or common post-surgery issues such as bleeding, infection and the prevention of blood clots; and this is where having home nursing support adds value – both in providing practical expert help and as emotional support as the patient goes through the recovery process,” notes Doreen.
If you translate this into actual hands-on care, the Emirates Home Nursing team cover the full gamut of medical and other support services including ensuring that the hospital’s discharge plan is followed to the letter, general assistance with daily living activities, pain assessment and monitoring, removal of stitches post-operation (usually after 14 days), as well as being that all-important connection between the family and doctor/hospital for facilitation of follow-up appointments.
Says Doreen: “Our nurses are a great resource for family members who may be a little overwhelmed or unsure regarding their loved one’s care; and we take time to educate both the patient and family about the recovery process.
Emirates Home Nursing is also a go-to resource for physiotherapy and Doreen works closely with the specialised in-house team to develop customised home exercise programmes designed to get you moving and back to full independence within a reasonable timeframe.
“We think it is really important to involve the whole family in any exercise programme, and this is a great motivator for the patient who doesn’t feel that they simply have to ‘go it alone’,” she explains.
Starting with a comprehensive assessment, Emirates Home Nursing is able to tailor individual programmes for its clients using ultra sound, electrotherapy, TENS, hot and cold therapy, weight training, passive movements, active movements, stretching and strengthening, rehabilitation exercises, and balance and coordination exercises…all in the comfort and security of your own home.
Emirates Home Nursing’s clinical manager recently took to the lectern as an invited speaker at the 6th International Congress for Joint Reconstruction Middle East 2018. Addressing a packed audience on the topic of post orthopedic surgery home care and associated nursing challenges, her presentation focused on the patient’s journey and how home nursing care and physiotherapy are vital for post-surgery recovery success.