Caring for an elderly after hip replacement surgery? Here are tips for a safe recovery

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A hip replacement surgery is no cakewalk. The pain and discomfort continues for a while. People, especially the older folks, need more care and love after a hip replacement surgery. Be it being a support while standing up or walking with them to the bathroom, there will be many moments when they will need you. But caring doesn’t end here. There are more ways you can help an elderly loved one who had a hip replacement surgery. Read on to find out how to make the recovery journey a smooth one.

After the hip replacement surgery, you will need to focus on special care to ensure that your loved one will recover completely.

Health Shots consulted Dr Atul Mishra, Director and Head for Orthopedics at Fortis Hospital, Noida, to know how to care for an elderly after hip replacement surgery.

Elders after hip replacement surgery need more care. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Why is hip replacement surgery done?

Some people experience unbearable pain in and around the hip joint. Well, that’s just one of the signs that mean you need to consult a doctor. Dr Mishra explains that hip replacement surgery is done when there is osteoarthritis of the hip joint. The hip joint gets destroyed as a result of recurrent inflammation and degeneration in the joint. The bearing surface comprising the femoral head and the acceptable cup are completely destroyed. Movements of the hip become extremely painful and variable amount of deformities develop. In such cases, doctors suggest a hip replacement surgery.

Elderly people need more support after hip replacement surgery

It’s true that anyone who returns home after a surgery, needs a lot of care and love. But special care needs to be taken in the case of elderly people. The expert says that after a hip replacement surgery, they advise people, particularly the elderly ones, to walk with the help of a support like a walker or a stick for at least one month. The reason is that people in the older age group have poor muscle control, the muscle bulk and the power in the muscles are less. So, many a times it has been noticed that in spite of a stable painless joint, the muscles are unable to provide support and balance to the leg. Also, in early post-operative periods, they tend to stumble and fall. So, they will need help till the time external and internal stitches are healed and all the muscles regain their power. All this takes around three to four weeks’ time.

Tips to care for an elderly, who had a hip replacement surgery

• Your loved one needs a regular psychological support that the surgery has been done, and everything is going to be fine.

• Getting them out of the bed after surgery can be difficult at times. You will have to help your loved one in negotiating him or her out of the bed. You’ll have to provide support so that the elderly family member can move around in the room and go to the washroom.

Provide support to your elderly family member after surgery. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

• Adequate hydration is needed. At least 1.5 to two liters of water needs to be taken every day.

• Proper diet is to be taken in early post-operative period. It should be a protein-rich diet, which can be easily digested. It has to be given so as to maintain the nutritional status. Adequate nutritional status in the post-operative period prevents fall of hemoglobin. It maintains the nutrition level and helps in healing of the surgical wound.

• You have to see that the dressing is not soiled by urine or by any other thing. If there is any deformity or any soakage in form of blood or any other fluid in and around the dressing area, you have to report it to a doctor.

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