Arrange for Help Later
If you live with a partner or family member and have close friends, you already have a good support system in place. Even so, many patients and their families are surprised at how challenging recovery from joint replacement surgery can be. If you live alone, the situation requires even more planning:
- You won’t be able to drive for a while after the operation. Someone will have to drive you to and from the hospital and get you to your follow-up appointments.
- Get your phone book up to date so you can bring it to the hospital. If you live alone, make a list of people you can call in case of emergency or if you need help.
- Make plans so you don’t have to shop and cook for up to six weeks after the operation, especially if you are the one who normally does this. Some people arrange for a meal delivery service. Others stock up on groceries, casseroles and frozen foods in advance. In some cases, family or friends may be able to do some shopping and cooking for you while you recover.
- Although you may be able to walk with a walker by the time you come home from the hospital, you may not be completely independent. You may need help showering, changing bed linens, doing laundry and taking out the garbage. Arrange for help from family, friends or hire someone to help you with these tasks.
- If you live alone and have pets or plants, arrange for family members or friends to care for them while you’re in the hospital. You should also plan to stop delivery of your mail and newspapers, or ask someone to collect them until you return.