If you’ve recently had surgery or are preparing for one, it’s best to have a plan in place for your recovery. You’ll want to talk to your physician about what you can expect after surgery and if you’ll require rehabilitation services to get you back on your feet. But what else can you do to help speed up the recovery process?
In this blog, learn our top five surgery recovery tips to help get you home faster.
Top 5 Surgery Recovery Tips
There are several things you can do following surgery to help you heal faster. Most of the following tips can be applied to many different types of procedures, but it’s important to contact your physician for specific guidance to your situation.
1. Follow Your Discharge Instructions From the Hospital
Following your discharge instructions is a crucial step in the recovery process. Set aside time to review them thoroughly and contact your physician or surgeon if you have any questions.
Understanding what to expect as you heal and what activities you can or can’t do will get you started on the right path. The last thing you want to do is attempt something your body isn’t ready to do, resulting in a setback or an injury.
Here’s some of the information you might find in your discharge forms:
- Activity level (lifting, weight-bearing exercises, driving, etc.)
- Dietary notes and restrictions
- Therapy orders
- Wound care details
- Side effects and complications
- Mental health awareness
- Contact information for your care team
2. Set Aside Time to Rest
A common mistake people make after surgery is over-exerting themselves and trying to do too much too quickly. Sometimes pain medication can make it difficult to assess how your body handles activity. When it’s difficult to listen to your body, remember to refer to your discharge instructions for recommended activity levels.
Try to follow your surgeon’s guidance to ensure you have plenty of time to rest and heal, reducing your risk of complications or injuries. If unsure what to do, ask questions and share concerns with your physician’s office.
If your recovery process prevents you from performing routine activities of daily living on your own, consider an inpatient rehabilitation stay at a center near you. You’ll receive therapy services, enjoy meals and also reap the benefits of amenities like housekeeping and laundry services, activity programming and additional nursing care.
Related: Choosing the Right Rehab Center ____________________________________________________________________
3. Keep Your Appointments
It’s likely that you’ll have follow-up appointments after surgery, and you may also have therapy sessions. It’s essential that you go to all of your appointments so your care team can monitor your recovery. Your physician can watch for signs of infection, evaluate your healing and provide additional instructions.
Appointments are also an ideal time for you to ask questions and share concerns. Make sure you write these down ahead of time, so you’re prepared and less likely to forget anything.
If you are participating in rehabilitation such as physical or occupational therapy, it’s important to go to each scheduled session to stay on track with your discharge plan. Your therapy team is another great resource to turn to for questions on activity level and healing time.
4. Eat Nutritious Meals and Stay Hydrated
You’ll want to drink plenty of water and choose healthy foods rich in vitamins, nutrients and protein to give your body the energy it needs to recover fully. Be mindful of your care team’s dietary recommendations and restrictions.
If you’re experiencing nausea or have other concerns about your diet, reach out to your physician promptly. Dehydration can happen quickly and may sometimes result in hospitalization or other complications.
Related: Post-Rehab Recipes You’ll Love ____________________________________________________________________
5. Care for Your Incision
Caring for your incision correctly is crucial in reducing the risk of infection. Follow your discharge instructions on how to properly care for your incision and know the signs of infection. Call your physician’s office immediately if you notice the area is pink, red or has unusual drainage.
You’ll also likely receive guidance on how to keep the area clean and how often to change the dressing. Always wash your hands thoroughly before coming in contact with your wound. You may be restricted to taking baths instead of showers — or you may have to keep the incision dry for a set period of time.
Looking for a Rehabilitation Center Near You?
Are you looking for a rehabilitation center for your post-surgery care needs? Optalis Health and Rehabilitation offers seven locations in the Columbus area. We specialize in post-hospital inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation. And we have pre-surgery reservations so you can reserve your room ahead of time and know what to expect in your recovery process.