Undergoing surgery, for a major surgical procedure or outpatient, requires planning and preparation to avoid a setback. This is especially important for people that live alone. First you need to become active in your medical care. Discuss your surgical procedure and recovery options, such as expected recovery time, things you should avoid during recovery and expected pain/pain management with your doctor. This will let you know what your options as you make plans. If you live alone think about the people in your life that can help you during your recovery. Talk to family, friends, neighbors or even church members about your upcoming surgery and need for assistance. If they are able to help, find out their availability and create a shift schedule for your care and medical appointments. If you do not have family or friends available to help during recovery contact the patient advocate at the hospital where you’re scheduled for surgery. The patient advocate will be able to provide you with social services and rehabilitation agencies that may be able to aid in your recovery.
Another option, if you do not have the support or want to get family and friends involved, would be to consider hiring a temporary personal caregiver. Not sure if this is covered by your insurance plan? A direct call to your insurer with your specific questions should give you all the answers you need about personal caregiver and rehabilitation coverage and resources. Whether your insurance will cover these services, or you don’t have insurance, you need to prepare your home before going into the hospital. Get your home in order with a thorough cleaning. Remove free-standing carpets and other items that may be a hazard during recovery, and create a special rest area in your home (avoid using stairs) that will provide convenience and comfort. In this area you should have a charged phone (i.e. cordless or a cell), blankets, pillows, a close front robe, slippers, bottled water, light snacks, etc. Your resting area should be close to a bathroom, if possible. Stock the bathroom with items for a sponge bath, toiletries and other necessary personal articles all within reach. Prepare enough meals or purchase quick-fix food items that are easy to open and microwavable. Create a list of emergency phone numbers and put a copy in your rest area, in the kitchen and bathroom.
Remember to follow your doctor and/or therapist instructions for a safe and successful recovery.
Medical Disclaimer: Always contact your physician for any health care-related questions.