The consultations have been had. The time and place is booked. You’ve taken care of everything you can possibly think of in the lead up to surgery. But what about after surgery? Have you really thought about and understood what kind of support you will need after surgery? Have you comprehensively thought through who will help after you’re discharged and find yourself sent home to heal fully?
Depending on the nature of your surgery and your general level of health, you may require the services of a registered nurse to assist with pain and/or wound management. Your doctor will likely advise you of this in pre-surgery consultations. You should also be given clear instructions around what kind of activity you will be able to do, in what kind of time frames, post surgery.
Medication and wound management are obvious needs to factor into your post surgery recovery. However, what may be hard to factor in is how much general assistance you may actually need. It is quite possible that you will require more help with your ADLs than you have fully considered.
‘ADLs’ is an industry abbreviation that stands for ‘Activities of Daily Living’. For most able-bodied adults, these are activities that are barely thought of. However, in preparing for surgery, your need for assistance in many ADLs post surgery need to be considered.
‘Activities of Daily Living’ cover 3 main areas:
Eating – Your surgery may not have affected your appetite at all, or even your ability to chew and swallow easily. But can you prepare anything yourself if your surgery affected the use of a hand or arm? Can you safely lift and pour from a hot saucepan? Even if your meals are completely prepared, can you cut that piece of pumpkin, slice that pork chop, or manage to get those rolling peas into your mouth?
Grooming – Getting ourselves dressed and properly presentable is something most of us mastered before we were 5, but there’s actually a lot of physical ability needed to accomplish these simple, everyday tasks. Again, you need to think broadly. A stomach operation may very well mean you can’t bend over to put on socks or tie shoelaces, even though your hands and arms are totally capable of the task. Think through all of the things you put on or do between the moment you wake up and the moment you leave the house, and consider carefully if you will need assistance. You may be able to comb your hair in the morning with limited arm mobility, but can you wash it?
Toileting – It’s a basic human need and there’s no avoiding it just because you’re recovering from surgery. Firstly, can you get the required pieces of clothing on and off? In a timely manner that doesn’t require extreme physical exertion? Can you keep yourself clean in your usual way? (There are devices that can help with this in some situations.) And, equally importantly, can you get yourself onto and off the toilet safely and without causing more pain or injury? Or do you need alternate modifications?
While it might feel a little embarrassing to be discussing some of these areas, it’s nowhere near as embarrassing and potentially dangerous as being stuck without help. The other thing to consider is, even if you have someone who is willing to help informally, are they available at all the times you will need them? If you need a high level of support, are you comfortable with this person helping you in this way?
These are just some of the many reasons you may want to consider employing the help of a professional personal carer post surgery. You need to be focused on recovery, not stressing over how you’re going to be able to get dressed and make a meal. MAC Healthcare are able to provide you with the highest level of professional service, no matter your needs. From home help, to personal care, to at home general nursing care post surgery, we have all the options available to make your recovery a smooth, well supported one. Contact us to discuss your needs and options.
Image Source:Piron Guillaume