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Recovery from Surgery When You Live Alone

It’s been proven that people recover from surgery faster and have fewer complications when they get to recover in the comfort of their own homes from Day 1. Often, however, people ask us how they’ll manage recovery from surgery at home if they live alone. Have no fear!

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons produced a study at their annual meeting in 2017 that there is no difference in recovery from surgery for people who live alone versus people who do not live alone. In fact, patient satisfaction with outpatient joint replacement surgery was equivalent in both sets of patients.

Rehab facilities are an option for those who live alone. However, there are ways you can prepare your home before surgery to manage just fine once you’re home and recovering. Here are a few things to consider before surgery:

Arrange for help

Our surgeons and nursing staff require that you have someone at home with you the first night after your surgery. It would be most helpful to have someone living with or near you for the first 3-5 days. This is very important for your safety and health that you have around-the-clock care.

If you have pets, especially dogs, consider boarding them for a few days. This will simply help you focus on yourself and your recovery – and avoid any incident with an active and possibly reckless pet!

Arrange for someone to collect your newspaper, mow your lawn, and take out the trash. These simple tasks may not be at the forefront of your mind before surgery, but having someone help with daily household tasks will help your life stay ordered.

Prepare your rest area

You won’t be moving much for the first days of recovery. So pick a spot where you’ll likely be sitting/lying down. Select a chair that has a firm back and armrests. You may be tempted to lie in a comfortable, poofy chair, but you may hurt yourself if you’re in a chair that sinks down for too long. Do not use chairs with wheels!

Leave a bottle of water, tissues, books, and the TV remote beside your chair so you won’t have to move around too much.

Rearrange things for easy access

Don’t get stuck trying to reach high or bend down to get something you need. Move furniture around so you won’t run into anything, and remove rugs and cords so you can avoid tripping.

Move kitchen and food items that you’ll be using to a level height or on the countertops.

Recovery from surgery at home alone may seem daunting, so if you still have concerns, then call our office to speak with a clinician.

Over 60% of our patients return home the same day of surgery, and we have seen 98-100% patient satisfaction rates with outpatient surgery. It just takes some initial preparation, but you will be on the road to recovery in no time!

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