How to care for someone after anterior hip replacement surgery?
February 28, 2017 11:27 AM   Subscribe

My mom is getting an anterior hip replacement surgery and she asked me to come stay with her for a while to take care of her while she recovers. What am I in for and what does she need me to do?

Google hasn't helped me, especially because the more common form of hip replacement surgery is not the one my mom is getting, and my mom hasn't relayed that much useful information. What is anterior hip replacement recovery like, and how long should I be with her for? (I think her's is also called "minimally invasive" hip replacement because they make small incisions through the front of the hip, rather than a long incision from behind.)

It sounds to me like she will actually be able to get up and down the stairs and walk, but I would just need to drive her to physical therapy. But I'm not sure -- being able to walk after getting a hip replaced doesn't make sense to me. I want to take care of her and I am flying across the country to stay with her, but I'm not sure how long I should plan to stay with her and what I should be prepared to do.

Anyone with insight into this type of surgery and tips on things I can do to help her would be great.
posted by AppleTurnover to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
I stayed with my dad after he had hip replacement. I think his was a standard, not minimally invasive, approach. So your mom may need less. Dad was on his feet (with a walker) within days after surgery - that's pretty normal. I mostly did a lot of housekeeping stuff - cleaning, shopping, cooking, bringing food to wherever dad was (hard to carry a plate with a walker). Also a lot of stuff to make his home more conducive to safety - installing some hand rails, getting furniture that fit his needs. Definitely driving him to appointments. Also, clipping his toe nails - he couldn't bend to clip them himself after surgery. I stayed with my dad for less than two weeks after surgery - he was more comfortable with day to day activities by that time.
posted by obfuscation at 11:45 AM on February 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

they try to get you up and walking within 12 hrs of the surgery (which seems crazy! but is also super cool!)

Is she certain that she's being released home after the 2-3 days in hospital post surgery? or will she need to go into a care facility for a bit? if she's headed into a care facility, I'd try to head to her house about 2-3 days before she's released and get on top of any housekeeping/stockpiling. I'd expect to stay at least a week, maybe 2.

A lot will depend on her home; how many stairs you have, and her strength/general health.

I've had family members with joint replacements at multiple different times (some as young as 50, some as old as 75), and the time lines for getting released home varied VERY significantly; some were home and pretty independent in about 2 weeks, some spent two months in a rehabilitation/nursing facility before getting released home where they then needed significant help. (complications from surgery!)
posted by larthegreat at 11:49 AM on February 28, 2017

My 68-year old mom had two knees and two hips replaced within a relatively short time period (5 years?) and it was dramatic how much easier the recovery was with the hips compared to the knees. Her first hip surgery was on a Monday, and she met us at a fancy-ish restaurant for dinner that Thursday night. She brought a cane but said she didn't really need it. It made no sense to me, but there she was. I don't know if my mom's hip surgeries were the same kind your mom is getting but "minimally invasive" sounds about right.

The hard parts of recovering from surgery for her are the after effects of anesthesia, and getting bored and trying to do too much too quickly. She's a big believer in ibuprofen and physical therapy, two things that probably aided her recovery a bit. It sounds like they've started pushing patients in recovery to start moving around more quickly, which reduces recovery time overall.

Ginger-heavy treats helped with the post-anesthesia nausea. Her Kindle and visits from grandkids helped with the boredom. Making sure my dad had help with meals and laundry and general house stuff that she usually does kept her from trying to do too much.

Good luck everybody! I think it'll be easier than you expect.
posted by sportbucket at 11:53 AM on February 28, 2017

She's staying in a hotel overnight that they have nurses at because they are doing the surgery not at the hospital, but at some facility of their own. I think that's weird and I suggested she should consider doing the surgery at the hospital and staying there, just to be careful, but it sounds like this is what they normally do. I'm gonna stay at the hotel with her overnight but she should be home the next day after surgery. They will apparently send a physical therapist to our house at first, and then I think she has to go to a physical therapy place for appointments after that.

Appreciate all the answers and experiences so far!
posted by AppleTurnover at 12:11 PM on February 28, 2017

My aunt had her hip replaced and stayed with my mother. She was walking almost immediately. She's a physical therapist, so she already knew the proper procedures for getting into and out of bed, using the bathroom, sitting in chairs, etc. Make sure you and your mother receive instruction on those things as they relate to her particular surgery.

My mother was basically there to cook and provide an accessible home for recovery--single floor, easy to get orthopedic services to, close to physical therapy, etc. My aunt spent a fair amount of time in bed for the first few days but quickly moved up to taking short walks, doing dishes, showering and dressing, etc. She returned to living alone in 10 days, but that may be atypical given her profession and experience.
posted by xyzzy at 4:16 PM on February 28, 2017

My neighbor had hip replacement surgery. I'm not sure which type. I mention her experience only because she thought she would be home on the Friday after surgery on a Wednesday. It is now 13 days post-surgery and she is still in rehab. She had put her surgery off for too long, she said, and that affected her pain levels and mobility. But a quick release doesn't always happen. Her cat is not amused.
posted by bluespark25 at 8:15 PM on February 28, 2017

One thing that I did not expect (in addition to how quickly my mom recovered, really, same as most everyone else is saying), is that there was a daily (!) shot I had to administer in her stomach (!!) for a few days. Some sort of antibiotic? I'm sorry, I sort of swoon about shots and have forgotten what they were for. Maybe this isn't common? But worth asking about perhaps--they sort of sprung it on me.

My mom is a hide-bound rule-follower, so she was great about doing her physical therapy, but other people might need a bit more push to do it. Keep on her; it's very important.

Putting on those damn compression socks is a real pain--I finally thought to get some of the material that lines cabinets or helps you open jars, you know the stuff I mean? It's kinda "sticky," and it helped to grip the socks and help roll them on.

You'll be surprised at how well your mama does, I bet. Good luck!
posted by thebrokedown at 10:27 PM on February 28, 2017

Just a long overdue follow-up in case anyone finds this on Google - thanks for the responses! My mom was actually able to walk around shockingly fast after the surgery. Mainly, I helped her with refilling this cold water pump that needed ice to be added and drained when the water wasn't cold anymore (I believe it was called Polar Care Kodiak). She also had to wear pumps around her calves to prevent blood clots and keep her blood flowing, and she also needed compression socks at night, so I put those on for her so she didn't need to bend over, which doctors told her not to do. Whenever she needed to use to restroom, she needed to be unhooked from all her pumps and stuff, so I assisted her there. And I just helped keep track of all her pills, reminded her to do the physical therapy stretches at regular intervals, made sure she was comfortable and kind of coached her through everything. Within a week, she didn't need her walker at all anymore. All in all, it wasn't too demanding on me, but I know she appreciated that I was there to take care of her, especially the first couple of days, which were the hardest.

So, anyone in a similar boat won't need to do much to prepare -- I moved a rug I thought would be a tripping hazard and I brought a chair from another room to the family room so she could prop her legs up while watching TV.
posted by AppleTurnover at 3:21 PM on November 26, 2017

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