The development of knee replacements has helped give thousands of people the ability to live more active lives. If you’re one of the many who’ve chosen to have this procedure, you’re probably looking forward to living more pain-free and more actively after you’ve recovered from your surgery.
But before you have a knee replacement, it’s important to remember that you won’t be “up and running” as soon as your damaged joint has been replaced. There is a multi-week recovery and rehabilitation period during which you’ll need to take care of the healing joint. Thus, it’s a good idea to make sure both you and your house are properly prepared for your return home and for your journey toward greater mobility and health.
Here are some things you might consider doing within your home prior to having knee replacement surgery:
- Make sure someone will be available to help you in the first weeks after your surgery. If you do not anticipate having adequate help, make sure you tell your doctor so that he or she can make arrangements for a skilled nurse or other type of caregiver to help care for you at home. You might also wish to be moved to a rehabilitation facility in the first weeks while you’re getting back on your feet.
(Note: Remember that you will not be able to drive immediately after surgery, even if the procedure is done on your left leg.)
- Since you will be using crutches or a walker, make sure to remove all throw rugs and to secure all other rugs (even their corners!) to the floor. This will help prevent falls.
- As with rugs, electrical cords and phone cords can be hazardous to people using crutches or a walker. Make sure they’re secured to walls or tucked behind furniture.
- If your bedroom is upstairs in your home, you may need to create a place to sleep on your main floor.
- You should also have a comfortable place to rest during the day with all your necessities close at hand. Make sure you’ve moved cell phone chargers, address books, books, magazines, an e-reader (and the charger), remote controls, blankets, and any other things you will need as you rest between rehabilitation sessions to this area.
- Prepare your bathroom for your recuperation by purchasing a raised toilet seat, a sturdy shower chair or stool, and a long shower brush for bathing. These items will make retaining your privacy and independence in the bathroom much easier.
- Prepare your kitchen by stocking up on frozen entrees and other easy-to-prepare foods. You might also consider cooking your first week’s food ahead of time and freezing it so that you or your caregiver can easily reheat it.