Dear Family Resource,
I’m a 78-year-old woman scheduled to have knee replacement surgery in 6 weeks. I live alone so I need to do some advanced planning for when I return home. Following the surgery, I’ll be in a rehabilitation center for a period of time (I’m not sure for how long) but I assume I’ll still need help once I get home. How can I plan for my recuperation when I don’t know how much or what kind of help I’ll need or for how long? What’s the best way to get started?
Dear Thinking Ahead,
You’ve already started your planning by asking all the right questions. Let’s start with the rehabilitation center. Following your surgery, their primary job is to get you up and moving. The physical therapist will work with you on your knee flexion, strength, and endurance and teach you exercises that will help continue your recovery once you return home.
Everybody heals and regains strength at their own rate, but there are basic assumptions about post-operative recuperation that you can read about. I suggest you contact the hospital or surgery center and ask if they have a pamphlet about “What to Expect Following a Knee Replacement.” The rehab institute is not likely to release you unless you are healing well and making progress. If you have family or friends that can help out with grocery shopping and laundry for a few weeks, it’s even possible that you may not need any other outside help once you get home. But as you wrote, it’s just not possible to anticipate how you will feel.
If you want to explore hiring someone to help out either every day or for a few hours a week, calling a home care agency, such as Family Resource Home Care, is a good place to start. I’d suggest giving them a call once you are at the rehab center. We’d come out and meet with you (FRHC does not charge for an initial consult) and tell you about the services we offer including light housekeeping, laundry, transportation, assisting with your exercises, and stand-by-assistance with bathing. Our caregivers can be hired for shifts as short as two hours and we are usually able to start within 24-48 hours of your call. So, with this information, you should feel confident about the plans you are making. Good luck with your surgery and give FRHC a call if you think we can be of help.
~ Family Resource