Preparing your home

It is important to prepare the home for your arrival even before your surgery.  This includes clearing a pathway for your entrance and exit from the home.  Clear out any throw rugs, clutter, furniture, cords, etc. so you have a clear pathway to move your walker through.  Make sure you also arrange your bathroom for easy access of a walker.  This may mean removing rugs, containers, towels and clutter.  If you have pets, please keep them out of the way, or even in a separate closed room to avoid them knocking you over when you return.  It is ideal to have your bedroom and bathroom on a single ground level floor. However, if this is not possible, you can temporarily set up a bedroom in a den, living room or dinning room until you can climb a full set of stairs to another level.  Make sure you have plenty of prepared dishes and food in stock prior to your hospital stay.  This way, you don’t have to worry about eating for the first few days. You should have already picked up your prescriptions for pain medications and blood thinners.  Use these as prescribed.  It is sometimes helpful to take the pain medications just prior to any physical therapy.

Most, but not all, patients with any major orthopedic surgery will be asked to take a once a day injection of a blood thinner for 10 days after your surgery.  You and your coach will be instructed how to use this properly.  Please dispose of the syringes properly.  Physical therapy should start whenever you are settled in at your home.  This includes the ankle pumps and other exercises provided.  The ankle pumps help reduce your chance of a blood clot and should be done 10 x every hour.  If you chose home physical therapy, the therapist should contact you within 48 hours.  If you decided to go directly to outpatient therapy, please make arrangements for this prior to your hospital stay and these appointments should also start within 48 hrs.  Make sure you clean the incision once per day using the instructions provided by your surgeon.  Elevate and ice your extremity at least two to three times a day for over 40 minutes at a time.  Most people find noon and 5 pm to be ideal times to do this.

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