Seniors are living longer, which results in them facing stints as patients in the operating room more frequently. Given seniors’ physical and cognitive frailty, a full post-surgical recovery is a matter of concern. The older a person is, the higher their chances of experiencing complications after surgery.
Frailty, for instance, is common in geriatric patients. Seniors may enter the operation in a physically or emotionally frail state. In post-operative periods, their frailty increases; however, many elderly individuals regain their robustness, especially with the help of home care services. This positive outcome shows that frailty can be reversed.
Cognitive functions also are affected by surgery. Some elderly people experience post-operative delirium, which is a state of severe confusion. Medical experts conclude that instances of delirium can be significantly reduced with highly organized care during all phases of the operation.
No matter what condition the senior happens to be after surgery, helping the loved one recover is critical. Family members and caregivers who provide extra support ensure healing takes place.
1. Bring in medical supplies
Recovery may require a wheelchair or other assistive device. Talk with the nurses or doctors before returning home with your loved one to find out what medical devices will be necessary to facilitate proper recovery. Examples of other common medical supplies include leg braces or a hospital bed.
2. Fill prescriptions in advance
After surgery, the senior will likely have been prescribed additional medications. Unless the individual has a predisposition toward addiction issues, the senior will likely not become heavily reliant on pain medications. The pain medicines will treat lingering pain as intended; so, refill as needed.
3. Encourage quality sleep
Sleep is commonly disrupted due to the trauma of having undergone surgery. A lack of sleep can be stressful. Help loved ones improve their sleep quality by discussing sleep medications with the seniors’ doctors. Practicing relaxation techniques has also proven to be beneficial.
Be aware that pain medications can also contribute to higher rates of sleep disturbances or delirium in the elderly who have just been released from surgery. These aftereffects can be handled by reorienting the senior to the current date and time. The elderly should also be kept from sensory deprivation.
4. Prepare the home
Seniors’ living quarters should sufficiently accommodate their return from surgery. A senior patient who has undergone surgery for a hip fracture may be physically limited. If the senior is no longer able to climb stairs, for instance, prepare a comfortable sleeping area on the first floor.
A smooth transition from the hospital to the home also means clearing the environment of obstacles that could interfere with mobility. Rugs, for instance, should be removed to prevent accidental slips and falls. Rearrange the furniture to accommodate safe navigation through the home.
Family caregivers should also promote healthy eating, which can accelerate wound healing, by stocking the fridge with fresh produce and nutritious foods. Nutrient-dense, easy-to-prepare meals are extremely beneficial to the recovering senior. Consider cooking and freezing meals for later consumption.
5. Provide emotional support
Feelings of helplessness and frustration accompany post-surgical procedures. After all, these seniors have just undergone a significant, possibly frightening life event. If the elderly individual displays signs of despondency, take note, and relay these observations to doctors during follow-up visits.
The rollercoaster of emotions will send the recovering senior up and down when it comes to emotional well-being. Pain, exhaustion and depression that results from the loss of independence are expected. A family member’s patience and compassionate attention go a long way toward comforting the senior.
Recovering emotionally from surgery takes time. Loved ones who encourage seniors in the post-operative stage to gradually resume taking care of themselves help speed up their emotional recovery. Simply, seniors gain strength as they provide for themselves as they once did prior to surgery.
6. Attend post-op doctor’s visits
Family members who accompany a recovering senior to follow-up doctor’s visits are better able to facilitate communication with the medical professional. Seniors, especially during post-op, may forget to ask the doctor important questions about self-care or misunderstand the physician’s recommendations.
Advocate on behalf of a loved one by being present when the senior’s doctor suggests remedies. Take notes of doctors’ orders and care recommendations. Concerned family members are better able to help their elderly loved ones when they fully understand their medical condition.
Overall, seniors who are physiologically older, meaning their bodies have been battered by a lifetime of smoking, eating unhealthily or avoiding exercise, experience more difficulty when recovering from a post-surgical procedure than one whose life has been spent incorporating healthy habits.
Surgical complications after the procedure are intensified when an older individual is both physiologically and chronologically (meaning numerical age) older. But no matter what a senior’s condition, helping them recover after surgery is doable and necessary, even if it takes extra help.
Professional caregivers from home care agencies are available to step in during the senior’s recovery phase when family members are unable to. Assisting Hands Home Care focuses on helping elderly individuals receive the quality in-home care they need to live with dignity and independence.
Our non-medical senior care services are comprehensive. Experienced caregivers arrive at your loved one’s home to help with such activities as bathing, grooming, meal preparation and light housekeeping. If your loved one requires medications after surgery, we’ll remind the senior to take them on schedule.
Transportation is also included in our range of elder care services. Dedicated caregivers from our agency will drive your loved one to follow-up doctor’s appointments or post-op physical therapy sessions. If the senior requires fresh fruits and veggies, we’ll transport your loved one to the grocery store.
Post-operative care is an area in which Assisting Hands Home Care specializes. Our licensed, bonded and insured caregivers will ensure that the senior in your life receives compassionate, skilled home care after a release from the hospital. Assisting Hands Home Care serves the elderly and their families in Gilbert, Apache Junction, Mesa, and Queen Creek, AZ and its surrounding communities.