Considerations Prior to Surgery

Most everyone looks forward to coming home after surgery. As a family member or caregiver, you can help make the homecoming a safe and pleasant one by helping the patient plan ahead. The following is a list of suggested areas that you might find useful to address prior to the hospital discharge.

  • If the patient sleeps upstairs, a downstairs sleeping area may be needed for the first few days or more depending on the length of the rehabilitation.
  • Arrange furniture so the patient can easily move about the home with assistive devices. Walkers typically range from 19" to 25" in width.
  • Check doorways to determine if walkers and/or wheel chairs can fit through them. Doorways may need to be removed or swing hinges installed.
  • Confer with the physician and secure needed medical equipment prior to the surgery. This will give the patient time to practice with the equipment. Toliet seat risers are one item that is often overlooked that many patients find useful.
  • Pets under foot can pose particular hazards. Arrangements may need to be made to have a pet or pets cared for by others during the first few days home.
  • Walk through a typical day and move things the patient uses and will need to easy to reach cabinets and shelves. The goal is to eliminate the amount of stretching, bending, reaching and stair climbing.
  • A portable phone is advised.
  • If you or someone else will not be available to prepare meals, you may want to prepare meals and snacks in advance and leave them accessible for the patient.
  • A chair that is 18-19" off the ground with a straight back and arms should be identified as the designated chair. The chair should not have wheels or a cushion that is that can slide off the seat. Most sofas are typically 13-14 inches high which make them a risk during rehabilitation.