Home Preparation

Seating
When sitting after surgery, keep your knees apart a bit, particularly if you bend over past a 90-degree angle. A tall, padded straight-backed chair with armrests is best initially as it is easy to sit down and get up from. Desk chairs can often be adjusted, are usually padded and have an ergonomic design, which makes them comfy for sitting after surgery. However, if you do use a chair with wheels, brace it against something when sitting down to make sure it will not slide out from underneath you.

La-Z-Boy recliners may require some forward leaning movement to get out of the deep cushion. If you plan on using a La-Z-Boy chair after surgery, prior to surgery practice getting out of the chair without leaning too far forward. A La-Z-Boy lift chair may be appropriate if you have difficulty getting up, but they are fairly costly. If you feel you may enjoy this type of chair in the future, the investment may be worth it.

Boat cushions (Type IV Personal Flotation Device) are handy to have around so that you can make low or soft chairs high enough and firm enough to meet your needs. They are inexpensive and have straps that make them easy to carry. Some people put their favorite chair or sofa up on blocks for the post-operatively period. If you are going to be traveling shortly after your THR, a wheelchair may be useful for long distances.

If the season permits, you may want to have an appropriate chair outside so that you can have some fresh air and new vistas. Inexpensive resin porch chairs are fine but may be more comfortable with a cushion.

Bed
Check the height on your bed as well. The old types can be quite low. Hospital beds can be rented quite inexpensively, if your bed is a problem. Some people put their bed up on blocks. Soft side waterbeds that are on a frame will usually be the appropriate height. Standard waterbeds may be too low and too difficult to get in and out of. Test yourself getting in and out of your bed prior to the surgery. If you need to do a big heave-ho to get out of the bed it probably will not be appropriate. Some people buy egg crate foam to put on top of the mattress for extra comfort. You will want to have your non-operated leg on the outside of the bed as it will be easier to get in and out of bed. You may want to rearrange your bed accordingly. Be prepared to have someone change your sheets quite often in the early post-operatively days; you will be spending quite a bit of time in bed and many people find they sweat profusely in the first weeks following surgery.

Cupboards
You won’t be able to reach very low or very high items. Organize one easy-to- reach shelf in your kitchen with the pots your use the most, several dishes and storage containers. Stock up on frozen food and other favorite easy-to-eat food before you leave for the hospital.

Drawers and Closet
Put together a wardrobe of loose, casual clothing that is appropriate for the season and place it in the front of the closet. Rearrange your drawers so that the clothes you will use most often are in the top drawer.

Stairs
Your ability to walk up stairs after surgery will be determined by Dr Swanson’s post-operatively precautions for you and your own strength. Although usually unnecessary, some people who have two-story homes choose to move their bed downstairs, or to rent a hospital bed and place it downstairs until they feel stronger. Other patients have found that they can manage stairs several times a day, as long as the majority of their day is spent on one level. It will be beneficial if your bed is on the same level as a bathroom and the kitchen. The early post-operatively period will require resting in bed for regular periods each day, having to walk up stairs to get to a bed each time you need to rest may add to your exhaustion.

Bathroom
Considering installing grab bars in your bathroom, especially on the walls of the tub or shower stall. Make sure you know how to find wall studs for secure installation. Prior to surgery, make sure that a walker will fit through your bathroom door. Take rugs out of the bathroom so you don’t have to worry about tripping on them. If you have glass shower doors on your tub you may want to take them off to accommodate a shower seat. There are two types of shower seats. A tub transfer bench straddles the wall of the tub, and the other type sits inside a shower stall. (A resin porch chair can be used, with a rubber mat underneath to prevent skidding.) With the type that straddles the tub, you will have to have someone to help you lift your operated leg up and over the side of the tub, until you get stronger and can do this yourself. Shower seats are typically supplied by the hospital prior to discharge and paid for by your insurance. You may want to check with your insurance company prior to surgery so you aren’t without this essential piece of equipment when you leave the hospital.

You may want to have a hand held showerhead, for easy showering while seated. These fit over the faucet in the tub and have a long hose that leads to a small showerhead. You may want to use liquid soap, or put your soap into a nylon stocking and tie it to a faucet handle. That way, you will avoid the danger of trying to bend in a slippery shower to retrieve a dropped bar of soap. Don’t forget about having a good supply of wash clothes in the bathroom for sponge baths when no one is available to help you shower. You will be able to wash your hair in the kitchen sink alone. Women can tape a razor to a long handled wooden spoon to shave their legs while seated on the shower seat.

You will need an Elevated Toilet Seat. This item is typically issued at the hospital and paid for by your insurance. Again, you may want to check with your insurance before your surgery. Some people replace their old low toilets permanently with higher toilets.

It is handy to have baby wipes or flushable wipes available in the bathroom. You can do quick clean ups of the bathroom with disinfectant wipes to keep the environment sanitary.

Finances
You may want to take care of all of your finances and paperwork before surgery. Pay all your bills far ahead of your surgery. If you don’t have the money to send them, put dates on the outside of your envelopes that indicate when they can be mailed. Energy and attention span will be low, and you may not feel like getting back to business for some time. Buy some thank-you cards in advance so that you have them at hand. It’s a good idea to have some cash available. That way if you need to ask a neighbor or friend to pick something up for you, you can pay them back right away.

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