Preparing for surgery can be overwhelming. One way you can overcome this feeling is to create a communication plan. A communication plan is a tool used to express your needs, in this case post-surgical, especially if you will not be able to speak or physically care for yourself during recovery.
Recovery time after surgery is based on the patient, and it can be hard to predict. If you speak to your doctor or surgeon in advance, he or she can give you a close estimate of recovery based on your surgery, health, age and other medical conditions you may have. For example a minimal invasive hysterectomy may only require a few weeks to recover. However, a procedure requiring an abdominal incision could require ten to twelve weeks for recovery. You should also discuss what you can do to aid your healing process and pain management, versus what you should refrain from.
MAKE A PLAN
Whether you live alone or with your family, make sure your communication plan specifically addresses your need for personal care, appointments, meal preparation and any other things you will need help with in your home. Only discuss your health and medical care needs with a small select number of people you can trust to keep things as simple as possible. This can include family members, friends, or even neighbors.
Once you find someone or a few people to help you, go over your communication plan with them and create a schedule based on their availability. They will need to know about all scheduled appointments or assist you in scheduling appointments if necessary, your required post-surgical care, and who to contact in case of an emergency. You also want to set some clear and specific hours of visitation and have the people helping you monitor phone calls during your rest and recovery. The less traffic in and out of your home at all hours of the day the better.
If you cannot find anyone in your circle to help you during your recovery, ask your doctor for a nursing service referral or contact the patient advocate at the hospital where you’re scheduled for surgery. The patient advocate can provide a list of home health care agencies in your area to aid in your recovery. Another option would be to contact your insurance company for referrals.
Now that you have a communication plan in place and people to assist you during recovery, try to make things a little easier by having your home cleaned and organized before your surgery. Preparing meals in advance to freeze can also give your caregivers more time to focus on your needs. Depending on the surgery and design of your home, you may want to set up an area downstairs to make transferring easier. Make sure you have a working phone and important phone numbers visible in your sleeping area in case of an emergency. Also put a copy in the kitchen and bathroom.
After a day or two you may start to get cabin fever. Just remember you need to follow your doctor and/or therapist’s instructions for a safe and successful recovery. You do not want to have a setback which can cause other medical problems and a longer recovery.
Medical Disclaimer: Always contact your physician for any health care-related questions.
Written by: Jamacia Magee, FizzNiche Staff Writer