By Dana O’Donnell, RN
When preparing for a scheduled surgery, going home often feels like the end result; the time to finally breathe a sigh of relief. However, returning home from surgery can be challenging. There are a number of things that you can do prior to your surgery to make the transition easier.
Most importantly, talk to your doctor and ask questions. Tell your doctor about any past surgeries that you have had, and what your recovery was like. Were there any problems or complications? This will help your doctor to estimate the time of your recovery, which allows you to better prepare.
Find out from your doctor ahead of time what restrictions you will need to follow during your recovery, and think about how you will manage these restrictions. This may include restrictions on your diet and level of activity. Will you be able to walk up the stairs on your own? What level of weight will be safe to lift? Planning ahead will allow you to take care of yourself at home, and avoid injury.
Another restriction will most likely be driving. Ask your doctor when he expects that you will be able to drive again, and arrange for friends, family members or a home care service to give you rides to appointments and errands. Be sure to arrange a ride to and from the hospital, and find out from your doctor when your follow-up will be so that you can arrange a ride ahead of time.
Ask your doctor about special instructions, and take notes! This includes what medication you will need to take and when, how to care for your incision and the use of special equipment such as slings or crutches.
It is important to have someone at home who can help you with daily tasks, or to have a friend a family member who can check on you throughout the day. If this help is not available, talk to your doctor about home care services. Also discuss whether or not at-home physical therapy will be required.
Call your insurance company to find out what home care services are covered. For those on Medicare, Medicare.gov states that intermittent skilled nursing services at home are covered and well as physical therapy, speech-language pathology and occupational therapy. Medicare does not cover meals delivered to the home, personal care services, or homemaker services. Keep in mind that if you are receiving home care, including physical therapy after a surgery, your insurance company will require that you are homebound. This means you are unable to leave your home without assistance. You are permitted to leave home for medical appointments and for infrequent non-medical reasons such as religious services.
Preparing for surgery and the recovery period can be overwhelming, but asking questions, taking notes, and talking with your insurance and home care providers ahead of time can help you to be more relaxed when you return home. To learn about how Liberty at Home can help with your recovery contact Dana O’Donnell at 215-643-6335 ext. 147.