If you suffer from knee pain, a total knee replacement can change your life and allow you to reclaim your lost mobility. As the technology behind knee replacements becomes more advanced, these implants are becoming available to a wide cross-section of patients. While total knee replacements were once reserved for patients who were bedridden or otherwise unable to get around, new surgical techniques have allowed doctors to treat people before their pain becomes unbearable.
If your doctor has recommended a total knee replacement, or if you are thinking about undergoing the surgery, you need to prepare your home carefully. While the long-term benefits of total knee replacement surgery are compelling, you will no doubt experience some short-term discomfort and reductions in mobility. Getting your home ready now can reduce the inconvenience when the surgery is over.
One Floor Living
You will probably be unable to negotiate stairs for some time after your knee replacement surgery, so it is important to set your home up for one floor living. That means making sure there is a bed set up on the lower level of your home and that everything you need for daily living is on one floor as well.
If your laundry room or washer and dryer is in the basement, you will need to make arrangements to have your washing done while you heal from your surgery. If your son or daughter lives nearby, you can ask them to stop by and get the laundry. If not, you can ask a friend or contact a local laundry service.
Keep Everything Close at Hand
Until you heal, you will not be able to move as easily as you once did. You can overcome that limited mobility by making sure everything you need is close at hand. You may need to rearrange your living room, relocate your favorite chair or put your TV remote in a pouch on the sofa, but these changes will make your healing more comfortable.
Personal Hygiene Needs
Comfortable recovery from total knee replacement surgery also means addressing your personal hygiene needs. Until you have healed and regained your normal mobility, you can use assistive devices for help with bathing, dressing and toileting.
A bedside commode is a must for patients recovering from total knee replacement surgery. Your doctor can help you choose the right one, and the cost may be covered by your insurance. Having a sturdy cane or walker propped by the bed is important as well; it will help keep you safe when you do need to move around the house.
Stay in Touch
If you do not yet have a portable or cellular phone, now is the perfect time to get one. You will want to stay in touch with friends and family members as you recover from your knee replacement, and they will want to call and make sure you are doing OK.
You will not want to get up every time the phone rings, so keeping a portable phone by your chair or on your bedside table is a must. If you wish, you can also enroll in a remote monitoring service that detects falls and calls emergency services. This is a particularly good idea if you live alone and do not have any family members living nearby.
Cooking may be difficult for a time after your surgery, so investing in some ready-to-eat meals is a smart idea. You may want to buy some prepared meals at a camping supply house or retailer catering to outdoor enthusiasts. If you prefer, you can stock up on canned goods and frozen foods.
Last but not least, be sure to place a sturdy chair in the kitchen so you can rest as you cook and prepare your meals. You may tire more quickly than you are used to, and your new knee may ache while you are healing. Having a safe place to rest and recover will make getting around your home and completing the tasks of daily living that much easier – and safer too.