After Leaving The Hospital
The average hospital stay after hip or knee surgery is about three to five days. Once you can perform certain tasks such as getting out of the bed unassisted, using the toilet, showering yourself and climbing stairs, you are ready to be discharged.
Whether you will be discharged straight home or first to a rehabilitation centre is a decision which will be made after a discussion between you, your family, the hospital discharge planner and A/Prof Munjed Al Muderis. The decision will depend on a variety of factors such as the surgery you have had, your current condition and your home set-up and situation.
If you go straight home you will need some assistance and help at home for several weeks. If this is not possible, you may need to spend some time at a rehabilitation centre first.
Tips To Make Your Homecoming Easier:
- Give a copy of your home key to a trusted family member
- Pay all your bills (such as telephone, gas, electricity etc.) prior to your hospital stay so that you don’t have to worry about them after discharge
- Keep some money at home so you won’t need to go to the bank
- Make an arrangement to get fresh groceries delivered to you at home after surgery
- At home place items you use frequently within easy reach so you do not have to reach up or bend down
- Rearrange furniture so you can get about easily on a walker or crutches. If your bedroom is upstairs you may want to change rooms so you sleep on the ground floor rather than having to climb the stairs
- Remove any items that may cause you to slip or fall such as rugs, floor mats and electrical cords
- Install mobility and disability assistance items in your bathroom such as a shower chair, a grab bar and raised toilet. These can all be either hired or bought from a mobility aid store
- If you live alone ask a member of your family or a close friend to stay with you for the first few weeks after surgery. If this is not possible ask them if they could check on you regularly
- Keep important phone numbers handy such us our phone number, your local general practitioner and the emergency service numbers
If your condition requires you to go to a rehabilitation hospital then the discharge planner and the nursing staff will arrange your transfer where you will be under the care of one of our trusted rehabilitation physicians. The choice of the hospital will be determined based on your preference and the availability of beds.
Wound Care, Sutures and the First Post Operative Visit
It is important to keep the skin clean and dry. You can have a daily shower as usual and wet the surgical site with warm water and soap. However, make sure you dry the area well with a clean towel using a padding technique; do not wipe the region. Wiping can increase the risk and spread of infection.
The dressing applied in the hospital is usually waterproof and it should last a few days. However, it may need to be changed if it gets dirty or becomes loose. A community nurse can help you with the change of dressing if you are not able to do it yourself. If the wound is required to not get wet, you will be advised to first bag the area before showering.
Swelling is normal for the first three to six months after surgery. Elevate your leg above the level of your hip when lying down and always put a stool under your heel when sitting on a chair.
Apply an ice pack for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, a few times a day for the fist few weeks after surgery to help reduce swelling.
In most cases we use a cosmetic technique and sutures which do not need to be removed. However in certain conditions where this technique is not advisable (such as contaminated trauma or surgery in certain parts of the body) then the sutures may need to be removed. This is usually done on your first postoperative visit to the clinic where a wound check and examination of the region will also be preformed. Depending on your condition an X-ray may also be taken.
The First Post Operative Visit:
We will arrange for your first postoperative visit to occur between one to two weeks after your surgery. If you are still in the rehabilitation hospital at this stage we will communicate with your rehabilitation physician regarding your well being and visit you there if needed.