After Hip Replacement: Continuing with Hospital Recovery
When to Call Your Doctor
Infection, excessive swelling, redness, warmth, or drainage from your incision
A fever over
101.0°F ( 38.3°C)
Calf pain or swelling
Once you have been shown how to protect your hip, you will learn the skills needed to return to normal life. You’ll be taught how to walk, sit, and dress. To make moving easier, ask for pain medications before each training session.
Sitting and Dressing
To protect your new hip, an occupational therapist or physical therapist will teach you safer ways of doing daily tasks. Use the following tips when sitting, dressing, or using stairs.
To sit, back up until the edge of the chair touches your leg. Then, using the armrests to support your weight, lower yourself into the seat. Always keep your operated leg out in front.
To pull on socks and shoes, use a long-handled device, such as a grasper or hook. Try this with slip-on shoes first.
To wash your feet and legs, use a long-handled sponge and a shower hose.
To use stairs, step up first with your good leg. Then bring your operated leg up to meet it. When going down, step down first with your operated leg.
Your Family’s Role
Your family’s support is especially important while you recover and readjust. By reminding you of what you learned in the hospital, and assisting you with equipment until you can use it on your own, they can help you make the transition to your home environment. Ask your family to encourage you to do things for yourself. They can also cheer you on and celebrate when you walk a little farther, or accomplish a new task.
You can leave the hospital when your medical condition is stable and you’re able to walk safely, including up and down stairs. Once home, it’s normal to have “good” and “bad” days. But if you continue exercising, there will be more good days and your general condition is likely to improve.
Planning Your Discharge
A discharge planner or other health care worker meets with you before you’re discharged to arrange for care in another setting, or for special equipment you may need at home. A visit with your surgeon in a few weeks will be arranged, as well as home therapy if it’s needed.