Hip fractures in the elderly are a significant healthcare problem. Hip surgery is often recommended by doctors depending on the patient’s mental and physical capacity. With more than 90% of hip fractures occurring in people over the age of 65 years, conditions like osteoporosis and dementia often enter into the equation. People with dementia are three times as likely to sustain a hip fracture than those who are cognitively intact. This may be due to related risk factors such as osteoporosis, falls, and dementia treatments that increase the risk of hip fractures.
Providing the appropriate care for dementia could help prevent the need for hip replacement surgery. These patients require care and guidance to help them recover and get the full value of joint replacement surgery. Those who are younger and whose conditions haven’t progressed tend to handle the surgery well.
If your doctor has recommended hip replacement surgery for you, what you do and don’t do will improve your chances of recovery. If a loved one is having surgery, you can help them prepare and make the right choices for the best outcome.
Plan for Aftercare
You will probably remain in the hospital for three or four days after surgery if there aren’t any problems. After that, you will either go home or to an extended care or rehabilitation facility. The latter is more likely when patients have serious underlying medical conditions.
You might think an expensive rehab facility is the best choice but research shows that people tend to do better when they recover at home. This choice also reduces the chance of your developing blood clots, having falls, or developing an infection. You can’t do some things that you normally do. Plan to have a family member, friend, or in-home caregiver to assist you after your surgery. Some tasks you will need help with include:
- Driving to doctor’s appointments and/or running errands
- Medication reminders
- Shopping for groceries
- Preparing meals
- Showering, bathing, and toileting
- Caring for your pet
Even though you have someone to help with your care, hiring an in-home caregiver can make it easier on your entire family. They know what to do, the type of diet you need, and the services to provide to make you feel better. You also have the option to hire respite care, 24-hour care, or anything in-between.
Put An Emphasis on Nutrition
The sooner you begin to eat a healthy diet, the more it will contribute to your healing process. The right foods will help boost your immune system, increase energy levels, and improve strength. Start a healthy diet before surgery and maintain it throughout your recovery. Some foods to include for optimal nutrition include:
- Raw vegetables
- Dark leafy greens
- Berries and fruits
- Lean meat
- Healthy fats including avocado and nuts
A professional caregiver can do the shopping and prepare nutrient-rich meals in your home. Another option is food delivery from a service that delivers food to your front door.
Have a Plan for Pain Relief
Any surgery is painful and that is certainly true of hip surgery. Your body responds to the trauma it undergoes with pain and swelling. Talk to your surgeon prior to the surgery about prescribing an anti-inflammatory medication to use after you go home. Talk to them about applying ice to further help reduce the swelling.
Although your abilities will be limited, you don’t need to be too still. It will cause your joints to get stiff. Gentle exercise will improve circulation. That helps reduce swelling and reduces the risk of getting blood clots. It also helps you enjoy the new flexibility from your new knee joint. Some points to remember include keeping the operated leg straight with your hip higher than your knees. You can also apply heat from fifteen to twenty minutes to help warm up muscles before you move them.
Know What to Expect
It’s good to know what to expect from your recovery before you have surgery. Most patients are up and on their feet one or two days after the surgery. Three days after surgery, they are released from the hospital and able to walk with the assistance of crutches or a walker.
Within two weeks, you will return to the doctor to have the staples from your incision removed. Then, you will be able to shower unassisted. Within three to six weeks, you can return to light activities and may be able to drive and walk without the assistance of crutches or a walker.
After ten to twelve weeks, you should be able to return to the majority of your normal activities.
Helping a Loved One After Hip Surgery
If you plan to be the primary caregiver after a loved one’s hip surgery, make sure you plan ahead. Find out exactly what your job will be and how to do it well. Don’t try to do everything on your own. If you need respite care to get a break, ask another family member or hire a professional caregiver.
If your loved one has dementia, expect the responsibilities to be much greater. You need to know what kinds of medications they take and when they need to take them. The level of care they require will depend greatly on how advanced their dementia is. Fractured hips are very common in dementia patients. Unfortunately, they are also more challenging to treat and heal.
Dementia patients also benefit from recovering at home. Depending on the situation and their support system, this can be more difficult than you think. When their home is a dementia assisted-living facility, they get the specialized care they need. When in-home respite care is needed, you also need the experience and understanding that comes from a specially trained caregiver.
Lakeside Manor is a San Diego Dementia Care facility. We offer 24/7 care in a home-like atmosphere that focuses entirely on caring for dementia patients. Our staff offers compassionate care every day to patients with memory diseases to elevate their quality of life. Contact Lakeside Manor to schedule a tour of our residential facility. We provide an atmosphere of comfort, care, and safety that will make your loved one feel at home.