Senior Care and Assisted Living Options For Joint Replacement Recovery

  Elizabeth Carrollton writes about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for Drugwatch.com.

Recovery from joint replacement procedures is a lengthy and intense process. Seniors having a knee or hip replaced will need a great deal of help as they work through that process, making detailed planning well before the surgery date arrives essential. Options for post-surgery care and rehabilitation range from in-home care and therapy to inpatient options, such as rehabilitation hospitals, assisted living centers or skilled nursing facilities. Which option is best for each senior depends largely on health status and personal circumstances.

Home Recovery

Going straight home after discharge from the hospital is an option that many seniors would prefer. After all, home is where you’re most comfortable. However, for those first few weeks after surgery, help will likely be needed 24 hours a day. If a family member will be providing care during this time, it is very important that he or she is well-informed on the type of assistance that will be needed during those first crucial weeks. Among the details your caretaker will need to know are movement restrictions you’ll need to observe to avoid implant dislocation and how to safely assist with personal care, such as bathing and dressing. You’ll need specialized equipment at home, such as a raised toilet seat, grab bars in the bathroom and perhaps a shower seat. You will need transportation to medical appointments, since driving will be off-limits for a while.

Monitoring carefully for any signs of complications is important, so your caretaker will need to learn to recognize the signs of common issues, like infection or blood clots, as well as less common ones, such as implant problems. Hip replacements have been the source of complications recently, with several hip replacement systems pulled from the market due to problems, like premature failures and metallosis, a serious inflammatory condition caused by metallic implant debris. Metallosis can lead to death of soft tissues and bone surrounding the implant, so any pain and swelling in the hip should be taken seriously and brought to the attention of the doctor immediately. Having a home health nurse check in several times a week may be wise.

Rehabilitation Facilities

For many seniors, recovering from joint replacement in a health care facility is a much more practical than handling rehabilitation from home. A variety of options are available for post-surgery care and rehabilitation. If you’re in pretty good health and won’t require a lot of medical care, a rehabilitation hospital may be a good option for you, offering intensive physical therapy programs to get you back in shape and on your way home quickly. Short-term admission to an assisted living center is another option for seniors who might need a bit more time, medical supervision and help to recover than a rehabilitation center can offer. If you have health issues that may require more complex care, a short-term stay at a skilled nursing facility may be the better way to go, offering intensive rehabilitation and any advanced medical care you might need for other health issues.

Elizabeth Carrollton writes about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for Drugwatch.com.

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