Do you have an upcoming surgery or have you recently undergone an operation? There are a few key aids that can help make your recovery much easier at home. Depending on the nature of your procedure, your postoperative care can be wide and varied. However, as we know, avoiding unnecessary stress can do the world of good when it comes to the healing and recovery process.
To ensure your home is both comfortable and accessible once you return from the hospital, it’s important to consider what you might need to support your postoperative care. While your doctor will supply a set of instructions to help you best support your recovery, likely including a list of activities you can and cannot undertake, there are additional tools and aids that you can benefit from.
One thing you certainly want to avoid is any slips or falls that could impede your recovery. Around one-third of people aged 65 and over, and half of those aged 80 or over fall at least once a year. In 2017-2018, the NHS reported there were more than 220,000 fall-related incidents in the over 65 age group annually. Putting measures in place to avoid this can be incredibly important. Many of the aids that will help you avoid slips around the home will also be ideal for post-operation care, especially if your mobility has been impacted due to your surgery.
Taking into consideration everything from small items and useful tools to upgrades in the home, here is a list of the best aids to consider after you’ve had an operation.
- Walk-in shower
Walk-in showers are a great way to create a disability-friendly bathroom, especially after you’ve had an operation. Not only are they ideal for anyone who experiences mobility issues, but they also remove the need to step into traditional shower-over-bath designs that can be difficult to manage post-operation. Installing a walk-in shower minimises the risk of slipping, reduces the need for unnecessary strain on any wounds or joints that are healing and will be a worthwhile long term investment.
Available both with doors or without for easy wheelchair access, walk-in showers also come with a range of safety features included as standard such as non-slip flooring, ultra-low threshold and an easy to clean enclosure. These are all ideal features for post-operation environments.
- Walk-in bath
If standing is of concern or perhaps you simply prefer baths, a walk-in bath can be a great investment. Designed to remove the need to step over the side of the bath, walk-in baths minimise the risk of bathroom falls and improve accessibility for users.
An access point is cut into the side of the bath meaning you can easily step directly into the tub. Including a side door for easier access, there are a number of other key safety features including; non-slip surfaces, support bars, low entry doors and easy temperature control.
- Shower chairs
Whether you are unable to stand in the shower due to the nature of your operation or need additional support while you are healing, a shower chair is an effective and affordable aid to support your recovery at home. If your operation involves any part of your body below the waist, a shower seat will be a welcome addition to your bathroom while you rest up and recover.
Shower seats are most suitable for walk-in showers as the curved edges of a bath won’t provide a sturdy and level surface that the chair requires. Shower chairs are designed with holes to allow the water to drain and rubber ends on the legs to ensure the chair doesn’t slip.
There are chairs available for use in the bathtub that are compatible with the curved sides and transfer benches are another alternative for people who use a wheelchair. Available in padded options for additional comfort, these are all great solutions for assisting post-operation and are ideal for short- or long-term use.
- Handheld showerheads
Some options might mean you need to avoid getting your healing wound wet, which means you need increased control when showering. A handheld showerhead increases flexibility if you have limited mobility after your operation but will also enable you to avoid getting certain areas damp. While a fixed position showerhead will cause restrictions and may limit whether you can even use your shower, a handheld version gives you a lot more control over the situation.
- Grab rails
If you need additional support when moving around your home after an operation, grab rails are a fantastic aid for your bathroom to help you stay steady on your feet. Textured models provide extra grip and are particularly useful where wet surfaces are concerned, such as in the bathroom. They will help support you if you have mobility or strength-related issues after an operation.
Grab rails can be used on walls and in the shower as well as in your bathtubs. Adjustable options have the ability to clamp onto the side of the bath and the height can be adjusted to suit your needs. Another option in a similar concept to grab rails are toilet surrounds. Instead of single wall-mounted rails, they are a frame that surrounds the entire toilet and provides sturdy support to help people as they sit and stand.
- Raised toilet seats
You’ve probably realised that there is no standard height for toilets, while some are high others might be set quite low. This can cause issues for people who are recovering from surgery, experience mobility issues or need additional support when sitting and standing.
Raised toilet seats help to add height by sitting on top of the regular seat to make it more accessible. If you have had a hip or knee replacement, these will likely be very useful aids to temporarily add to your home while you are healing after your operation.
A huge benefit for anyone whose mobility is affected by their operation, a wheelchair is a common and highly sought after aid for those who have had a range of surgeries including hip and knee replacements. When you’re unable to walk while you are letting your body heal, a wheelchair will help you get around, whether at home or out and about.
If you’ve had any sort of surgery on your feet, ankles, knees or legs crutches will be a huge help once you’re at home in recovery. Supporting you so you can keep the weight off, they’ll make moving around easier.
- Portable walking cane – stool combo
In a similar vein to crutches, the added support of a walking cane will be a huge help when trying to ease weight-bearing. Even better than just a standard walking cane though is the option of a cane and stool combo. These give you not only the support to avoid weight-bearing on recovering post-operative wounds but also enables you a place to sit if you require it. Easy to fold from a stool into a cane to give you that little bit of additional support it’s a two-in-one item that is easy to store and use when needed.
If you’ve been required to use a wheelchair after your operation, a stairlift might prove useful if you need to access various levels within your home. By eliminating the need to walk up and downstairs, it can help you move between the levels of your house with ease and without causing unnecessary stress on your body while you are recovering.
Reachers or grabbing tools are a brilliant aid to help you make life at home easier post-operation. Whether you can’t bend like you normally would or can’t stretch to reach things stored in higher places, a reacher can help you access items. From dropped items to books on the top shelf, this useful tool acts as an extension of your arm so you can avoid bending, stretching and reaching when you don’t need to.
- Home massage devices
If permitted by your healthcare practitioner, you may be able to reduce aches and pains with a home massage device. Sometimes, when we are healing from an operation, we compensate by overusing other muscles and joints to ease our use of the affected area. This can result in increased discomfort elsewhere on your body. If allowed and safe, a gentle massage device could help you avoid additional discomfort while you rest and recover.
There is nothing more important than rest and relaxation to support your recovery post-operation. By introducing useful tools and aids to support you around the home and when out and about, you can make the process easier on yourself. Whether it’s installing grab rails in your bathroom, using a reacher so you don’t pull your stitches, or upgrading your bathroom so you can benefit long term from easier access with a walk-in shower or walk-in bath, there’s a range of beneficial aids available to you post-operation.