Preparing in Advance for the Best Possible Convalescence
To help you recover properly following a medical procedure, it is worth making a few preparations beforehand.
Simplify your movements
To make it easier to get around after your operation, reconsider the layout of your home.
- Your bed and the bathroom should be easy to get to. If your bedroom is upstairs, consider having a bed installed in a room on the ground floor if negotiating stairs might be an issue.
- Remove or relocate any objects or furniture that could get in the way or cause you to stumble.
- Place a table in a convenient spot that gives you easy access to items you’ll need on a regular basis, like reading glasses, tissues, bandages, etc.
Plan your mealsDon’t be shy about asking friends or family members to help out with your meals. If that’s not an option, plan ahead to ensure you have enough food to eat during your convalescence. Alternatively, you can sign up for a meal delivery plan.
Check with your care team If you’ll have any dietary requirements or restrictions so you can stock up accordingly.
Medical supplies and devices
In some cases you may need to use certain medical equipment after your operation, such as crutches, a raised toilet seat, or oxygen, for example. Some types of equipment can be rented. Inquire about such devices before your operation, to be sure they will be available when you leave the hospital.
You may also require medical supplies such as bandages or catheters. Make sure your pharmacy has them in stock. If need be, your pharmacist can order them for you in advance or refer you to a specialty store.
Plan to wear comfortable clothes that are easy to get on and off, and that don’t constrict or chafe, to facilitate your personal care and your bandage changes, where required.
The pharmacist can prepare a comprehensive medication list for you to bring to the surgery ensuring a safe transition of care. Tell your pharmacist that you will be undergoing an operation, and authorize them to discuss and give your medication to a family member or friend for you. You can also opt to use the pharmacy’s home delivery service.
Ask your care team whether you will need to take any special medications after your operation and have an updated list. That way your personal pharmacist can act accordingly, for example by preparing a medication schedule or pill organizer for you.
Some medications, including those administered subcutaneously or by intravenous, require specialized preparation or home visits. By inquiring with your pharmacist in advance, they’ll ensure these services are available when you need them.
Medical followups and restrictions
If you need to go for an appointment with other specialists after your operation, for example a physiotherapist, make sure you get all the necessary information and details before your operation.
If you are unable to enlist a friend or family member to accompany you to your followup appointments, consider contacting a medical appointment support service.
Check whether you will have to limit or avoid certain activities (household chores, driving, physical activity, etc.) and for how long. If need be, ask for help from a friend or family member or a community service.
List of contacts
Draw up a list of phone numbers of the various resources you may need to contact (doctor, nurse, pharmacist, community services, or other), and keep it handy.
You should also prepare a list of your key contacts to provide to your care team.
Once you’re back home
- Be sure to follow all the instructions provided by your medical team, even those you may consider unimportant. They are all designed to help you recover and avoid complications. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and to reach out to your contact person as needed.
- If you don’t have a comprehensive discharge medication list, then be sure to ask your pharmacist to contact your medical team.
- Your pharmacist will provide precise and full instructions on the medication you will need to take, as well as important information on its efficacy and possible side effects. Contact them right away if you have any questions or concerns.
- Go to all your followup appointments, even if you’re feeling fine.
The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide complete information on the subject matter or to replace the advice of a health professional. This information does not constitute medical consultation, diagnosis or opinion and should not be interpreted as such. Please consult your health care provider if you have any questions about your health, medications or treatment.