Having surgery is never an easy experience, but there are things you can do to improve your recovery period and minimize its impact on your life. We sat down with our team of caregivers to uncover the best tips and tricks for better recovery after surgery. Join us as we review the best plan for post-operative care!

1 – Adhere to Your Discharge Instructions

Prior to your surgery, your doctor will explain your recovery needs. After the procedure, you’ll receive a set of discharge instructions. Be sure to review these with your care team before leaving the hospital and review them again once you are home. These papers include important information on medication management, physical restrictions, rest requirements, and more. If you can, have someone with you after the procedure to review the instructions together with your surgeon. When it comes to surgical recovery, it’s always best to have support!

Max with glasses and cast on foot relaxing on couch at home

2 – Give Your Body the Rest It Needs

All surgeries require some level of rest and restricted movement. Less invasive surgeries may require you to minimize the use of one of your limbs or limit the amount of weight you can lift. More intensive surgeries may require ample bed rest and extremely limiting your mobility. Regardless of the procedure, you should rest in bed as much as possible for a minimum of 24-48 hours after you’re discharged.

Your body is beginning the healing process and may have to recover from anesthesia. Proper rest is the best way to give your body a fighting chance at recovering quickly and effectively. Listen to your body – if you feel tired, stop what you are doing and rest. Move slowly and thoughtfully when you have to. Only ramp up activity once you are cleared to do so.

3 – Prevent Infection by Following Incision Care Guidelines

Your surgeon or care team will give you a lot of information on how to keep your incisions clean. How you care for your incisions will be based on their location, size, and depth. Get a jump start on your recovery by getting your care supplies ahead of time and making them as accessible as possible in your home for when you return. Your doctor will let you know what you need most – this could be a scent-free mild soap, an ointment, gauze, or bandages. Be sure to carefully follow the guidelines your doctor provides to ensure optimal recovery.

Person grabbing individually bagged corn, broccoli, and mixed vegetables

4 – Make a Nutrition Plan

After surgery, you’ll need to provide your body with the nutrients it needs to optimize cell production and jump start recovery. You’ll also need to stay hydrated to keep your body in optimal working condition as it heals. Talk to your doctor about any food restrictions you may have for recovery and make a nutrition plan based on their recommendations. If you can, try to meal prep early. Having meals ready to go in your freezer and pre-prepared healthful snacks can make all the difference in recovery. Remember, you should be resting after surgery so make your meals and drinks as accessible and healthful as possible before your procedure. Fill your fridge with filtered or bottled water and easy-to-eat snacks to keep your recovery stress-free and simple.

Man holding a walking cane grabbing stair railing to go upstairs

5 – Get Active When You Can

A key component of healthy recovery is gentle and consistent movement. Our caregivers recommend walking slowly and thoughtfully to avoid increased discomfort. The simple act of walking can help you avoid blood clots and decrease uncomfortable physical symptoms like gas and constipation. Start slowly and for short periods of time.

Start by walking around your room and then your home. Once you feel well enough, try to get outside – walk to your mailbox or down the street. Moderate activity such as this can even prevent lung problems like pneumonia.

6 – Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Setting yourself up for a successful surgical recovery takes some planning and it’s okay to get some help. Maybe you live alone and could use an extra set of hands for daily tasks or getting to and from the pharmacy and follow up appointments. You could be a parent in a busy family and need help managing medication or meal prepping. You might be a senior going through a longer recovery and would like someone around to make sure you don’t fall or to help you with rehabilitation exercises. One of the best ways to make recovery easier to manage is getting the help you deserve. In-home caregivers can come to your house or apartment and help with a number of tasks including:

  • Meal preparation
  • Transportation
  • House Cleaning Services
  • Pet Care
  • Hygiene Assistance
  • Running Errands
  • Medication Reminders
  • Medical Communication
  • and more

If you’re planning an upcoming procedure or working through recovery and need some extra help, reach out to your local ameriCARE to connect with compassionate, trained, reliable caregivers in you area!