Your surgeon or his/her staff will see you on a daily basis. Your primary care doctor may also visit you while you are in the hospital. If your primary care physician does not come to Good Samaritan Hospital or you don’t have a primary care physician, you may be assigned to a physician called a "hospitalist." This physician will see you daily in addition to your surgeon.
You will be scheduled to see your surgeon in the office for a follow-up appointment usually 1-2 weeks following your surgery and again several weeks later.
You may have physician orders to get out of bed the afternoon or evening after surgery depending upon what time of day your surgery takes place.
After orthopedic surgery, most patients return directly home from the hospital with ongoing therapy and/or nursing care. Your physician will discuss discharge plans with you prior to hospitalization. Depending upon your personal medical needs you could transition to:
Home with outpatient therapy services
Home with home health care therapy and/or nursing care
A skilled nursing facility where nursing and therapy services are provided
An inpatient rehabilitation facility where frequent physician/medical care, nursing and therapy services are provided
Your nurse navigator will assist you with arrangements for ongoing care as needed including equipment needs, home health care or skilled nursing facility placement. For your safety and convenience when you get home, here are some suggestions on how you can prepare your home before you come to the hospital:
Remove clutter and throw rugs. Remove or tape down any cords/wires. Know where flooring is uneven (thresholds).
Have all areas of the home well lit (consider night lights in bathrooms and bedrooms).
Widen pathways so that you may get your walker through.
Have hand rails on stairs. Consider grab bars in the bathroom for assistance standing.
Move things you might need to areas where you can reach them.
Prepare meals to put in the freezer to simplify cooking.
Arrange for help with shopping and transportation to appointments.
You will be discharged from the hospital dependent on your condition and progress. Most patients are able to go directly home following their hospital stay.
Plan to have your "Coach" or a family member/significant other help you at home the first day or two. You should not be at home alone the first night after your surgery.
If you have young children at home, you should not plan to care for them the first day after you return home.
Your surgeon will give you instructions about the activity level you should maintain at home.
Generally, you may be up and about as you are comfortable with no strenuous activity (i.e. pushing or pulling heavy objects). Going up and down stairs is permitted depending on how well you have done with stairs during therapy -- remember to take them slowly.
Follow your exercise instructions.
Sit in chairs that give adequate support and have arms that you can use to help yourself stand up.
Don't cross your legs when you sit or stand. Don't twist your affected joint.
Ask for help to put on shoes and socks.
Continue to wear your elastic TED hose as your surgeon instructs. Remember to remove your TED hose every day.
You may bathe or shower as your surgeon instructs.
No driving, until released to do so by your physician (prescription medication can impair your judgment).
Keep your incision clean and dry. Change your dressing as instructed (if you have one).
Get plenty of rest.
(Knee) If you have a nerve block, a home health nurse will remove the tube after you go home.
Notify your surgeon if you have:
Redness and/or swelling at the incision site
Drainage from the surgical incision
Pain in the calf of your leg or increased swelling in your leg
A fever greater than 101 degrees Fahrenheit
Pain that is not controlled by the medication prescribed for you for home
Remember that your new joint may set off metal detectors in airports and other places.
Let your doctor or dentist know before you have other procedures or surgery done. Antibiotics may be necessary before these invasive procedures to prevent infection.