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5 Ways to Optimize Your Loved One’s Recovery Post-Surgery

Walker Methodist | May 24, 2022


Surgery can be an anxiety-inducing prospect at any age, and it can be especially stressful when it’s for your loved one. You want to make sure you have experienced providers, the best facilities, and a compassionate and passionate team to oversee the process.

While it can feel like a lot is out of your hands, planning for a successful recovery can boost your and your loved one’s confidence by giving you concrete steps to support a positive post-op experience. So how can you help support a successful recovery that will allow your loved one to get back to living their fullest life?

Keep reading as we share five useful tips to ensure that your loved one’s post-surgery recovery is as easy as possible.

Ask questions at the pre-op appointment.

Preparing for a successful recovery begins before your loved one ever steps foot into the surgical suite.

The pre-op appointment is a crucial opportunity to ask questions and ensure you fully understand the procedure being performed. This is also a time to inquire about second opinions, establish costs, and check in about alternative treatment options.

The pre-op appointment is also a chance for you and your loved one to get to know your surgeon better. Make sure they have experience with the procedure, and feel free to ask about their professional background if you have any concerns. Such inquiries aren’t rude: they’re your right as a patient or caregiver. After all—surgery is a big deal!

This is also a time for you and your loved one to begin cementing your post-surgery game plan. Talking about goals during recovery, and having a solid understanding of the procedure, can result in a more positive, optimistic mindset going into surgery.

Follow all post-op instructions.

Though this one may feel obvious, it can be harder than it sounds! Loved ones can be ornery or grumpy post-surgery, but following your surgeon’s recommendations is vital.

Being mindful of your doctor’s orders will help keep your loved one safe from infection or further complications after surgery. Post-op instructions are also important because they help keep patients feeling comfortable.

By following post-op instructions such as limiting movement or taking prescribed medications at the right time, your loved one will be able to heal quickly and fully.

Eat a healthy, supportive diet and hydrate.

A healthy diet with plenty of water is important for general health, and it’s especially important post-surgery.

A provider’s post-op instructions will have specific guidelines for what foods and fluids can be introduced first. Depending on the surgery, be mindful of the type of foods you’re serving while your loved one gradually works their way up to their normal, healthy diet.

It’s important to consume plenty of clear fluids (such as water or broths) post-surgery to keep the body hydrated. Start with fluids as a gentle way to make sure the digestive system is working properly. Fluids can also help prevent constipation, which is a common issue after surgery.

Once a patient is given the “okay” to introduce solid foods back into their routine, a balanced diet focusing on whole foods (whole grains, fruits, veggies, and lean meats) will provide the nutrients, fiber, and proteins your loved one will need to keep their body and immune system strong as they recover.

At Walker Methodist, our trained culinary team members and dietitians can help ensure that your loved one is getting the daily nutrients they need.

Be sure to attend all follow-up appointments post-surgery.

A patient may be feeling fine (even good!) after surgery. However, follow-up appointments allow your provider to monitor important indications of a patient’s wellbeing. Your doctor may schedule follow-up appointments in order to make sure a wound is healing properly, replace bandages or dressing, or discuss medication changes.

Depending on the type of operation, a follow-up appointment may be the time when your provider will discuss pathology or lab results. These follow-up appointments are especially crucial because they’re where your provider may suggest adjustments to your recovery plan, or recommend additional tests or procedures.

Engage in approved exercise or physical therapy.

Depending on a patient’s post-op instructions, incorporating approved physical movement can help facilitate a successful recovery. This may be gentle exercise, or in some cases, in-office physical therapy.

Post-op movement contributes to recovery by reducing swelling in the body. This, in turn, reduces pain and discomfort. Movement also helps increase range of motion, mobility, and mitigates tightness as a result of the physical trauma a patient’s body has just undergone.

It is important to incorporate movement to address any stiffness your loved one may experience post-surgery. Left unaddressed, stiffness can begin to affect simple tasks like sitting or reaching for an object, impacting your loved one’s quality of life.

Approved movement and exercise are key ways to rebuild strength and muscle tone. Such exercises are especially important in the case of knee or hip replacement surgeries.

Walker Methodist provides flexible care options.

Walker Methodist understands that post-op recovery can be tricky. That’s why we offer rehab and transitional care options. Request information today about our facilities, to discover how Walker Methodist partners with families to provide a caring, fully-supportive recovery program for your loved one.

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