Preparing for an elective orthopedic surgery can be daunting. Questions may race through your mind: what’s staying in the hospital like? How long will my recovery take? What can I expect from physical therapy?
Fortunately, there are things you can do to prepare and help ensure a positive experience. As Alexander Graham Bell once said, “before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”
At the Mission Hospital Orthopedic Institute, you’ll find our team of caregivers is committed to providing every patient with a compassionate, caring experience. From pre-operative preparation classes to discharge and follow-up care, we’re here every step of the way.
While no two surgeries or patients are the same, there are some general guidelines that apply to anyone undergoing an elective surgery. Here’s a few tips to help you prepare:
Make sure you’re healthy – Nourishing your body with healthy foods helps you heal and rebuild. In the weeks leading up to surgery, choose lean meats, healthy fats, and lots of fruits and vegetables. These foods are rich in protein, vitamin C and zinc and are essential to healing. Don’t forget to drink lots of water to stay hydrated.
Take a pre-operative preparation class – All of our orthopedic surgery preparation classes are led by an orthopedic certified nurse who walks patients through the surgical process from start to finish. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of:
- Infection prevention measures such as washing with chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) soap, which is an antiseptic that lowers your risk of infection
- The surgery
- What to expect during recovery
- Exercises that prepare you for surgery
- How to make your home a safe environment
Day of Surgery
Understand the different caregiver roles – When staying in the hospital, you’ll meet many different caregivers, and each one has a critical role to play. Aside from your surgeon, you’ll interact with:
- Care Managers
- Patient Care Technicians
- Physical Therapists
Bring what you need, and leave what you don’t at home – At Mission Hospital, we provide you with most of what you need during your stay. Leave your valuables at home, including medications, jewelry, keys, credit cards and cash. You will want to bring:
- Your driver’s license and insurance card
- Your cell phone
- A charging cable – we highly recommend bringing a six-foot-long, colorful cord
- Reading glasses, hearing aids and dental accessories, if applicable
- Advanced directives, also known as a living will
Understand safety measures – The greatest safety risk following surgery is a fall. To prevent a potentially dangerous fall, make sure everything you need to access is in your safety zone, which is the area between your hip and shoulder. For example, if you are eating your meal at a table, everything you need should be in front of you on the table, not on the counter behind you or across the kitchen island.
Continue infection prevention measures – The best way to prevent an infection is practicing good hand washing hygiene. Thoroughly wash hands for 20 seconds before and after meals, using the restroom, coughing or sneezing, or touching any pets. Pets can be a great comfort when recovering from surgery, but make sure to keep any pets away from your incision.
Introduce exercise into your routine – Under the direction of your doctor and physical therapist (PT), it’s important to incorporate postoperative exercises into your daily routine. Remember to go slow and be safe. Moving is key to preventing blood clots and keeps you from getting stiff.
Be sure to discuss your individual care needs with your care team. We’re here to make the entire surgical process as easy and successful as possible so that you can get back to your daily life quickly.
We offer the following orthopedic surgery prep classes:
Total Joint (Hip and Knee) Replacement Preparation Class
Total Shoulder Replacement Preparation Class
Spine Surgery Preparation Class
To register call (877)227-3457
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