You have finally made the decision to undergo a total knee replacement. More time and energy initially goes into planning and getting the surgery done. After surgery, we worry about pain relief and rehabilitation. One important aspect of rehabilitation, which commonly gets ignored, is getting your home ready and safe for your loved ones, after a Total Knee Replacement. These changes will help and aid in safety and a quick recovery of the patient.
Following are the measures that should be looked into prior to taking the patient back home.
- The room should have direct access to the living room or veranda, this helps them to walk around and do their exercises.
- It’s important that you allocate a clean, well-lit room with a bed and close proximity to a bathroom. The bed should not be too high or low but should be at a height comfortable enough to get in and out.
- There should be enough space for the walker to be stationed next to the bed.
- Make sure there is a phone or a way for the patient to communicate with you if there is no taking care 24×7.
- Clear the path along the bed and bathroom, so that there is nothing that can make the trip and fall.
- There should be chair preferably with a firm counter, which they can use to sit instead of laying in bed all the time.
- This is a major concern and has to be sorted out properly.
- Firstly, does the entry to the bathroom have a step? Its perfectly ok for them to climb few steps, initially. If they are not able to clear the step, we have to use a wooden footrest to decrease the height, essentially converting it into 2 steps.
- The flooring of the bathroom should be skid proof and should always be kept dry. A slippery floor can spell disaster for the patient.
- Toilet seat – Its advisable to only use a western toilet. If the height is low and they are having difficulty, the height can be raised with an elevated toilet seat.
- If possible there should be a grab bar to help them get up from the commode.
3. Safety tips:
- Always when they get out of bed its imperative to stand for few seconds, stabilize and then walk. The blood can pool in the legs when we get up and this can make them dizzy and can lead to a fall.
- Use the walker at least for 3 weeks, does not matter whether they need it or not. It’s better and safer as they can immediately support themselves with the walker just in case
- Make sure the dressing does not get wet while you take a bath. The water can go underneath the dressing and macerate the skin. Impervious leg covers to avoid water seeping through.
- Nights, it always safer to have someone accompany them to the bathroom.
4. Staying out of trouble:
- Always follow all the instructions given in the discharge summary
- The medications mentioned should be routinely taken every day as prescribed
- The physiotherapist comes only once a day and does therapy. It’s important that they get out of bed on their own and walk around and walk to the bathroom. This will help the rehabilitation process, leading the way for faster recovery and prevent all other complications associated with staying in bed for a long time.
5. When to call the doctor in an emergency:
- If you have chills or a fever greater than 101°F (38.3°C)
- If you have severe pain at your incision site that is getting worse
- If you have redness, swelling, incision pain, drainage (such as blood), pus or a foul smell at the incision site
- If you develop calf pain or tenderness in either leg, swelling, redness, and fever
- In case you have chest pain, shortness of breath, don’t wait, bring them immediately to the emergency department.
Remember total knee replacement is not done for some sickness, its done for osteoarthritis of the knee. This condition is a part of the normal aging process. Post surgery the patients need to be active and move around. There is no need for complete bed rest. In fact, the more active you are, the quicker you will recover. Making necessary adjustments at home keeps the patient safe and aids in faster recovery
About The Doctor:
Dr. A.B Suhas Masilamani is one of the Orthopaedic Surgeons who has trained in the USA and has come to work in India, He finished his MBBS and MS Orthopaedic training from Christian Medical College, Ludhiana. He then went on to clear his DNB Orthopaedics, pursuing fellowship training in the United States later. His first fellowship was in Paediatric Orthopaedics at Montefiore Medical Centre, Albert Einstein School of Medicine, New York, USA. This was followed by a second fellowship in Adult Hip and knee joint replacement Surgery at Bronx Lebanon Hospital, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, USA. He is one of the very few surgeons from the city to become a member of the American Academy of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS). He is also a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and International Congress for Joint Replacement (ICJR).
ABOUT THE HOSPITAL:
A Multi Super Speciality Institution, 500 bedded Sunshine Hospitals (Paradise Circle, Secunderabad) is promoted by globally reputed Joint Replacement Surgeon Dr. AV Gurava Reddy (Orthopedic Doctor) and like-minded associates who share the objective of making world-standard healthcare available, affordable and accessible to the common man.