Recovery is a vital part of every major surgery. It can also be extremely trying, especially if the patient has to deal with discomfort, mobility issues, or cabin fever. If a partner, family member, or other loved one undergoes major surgery, it’s important to help them out in any way you can. Here are five ways to support a loved one after major surgery.
Prepare the House
Your loved one might have limited mobility after their surgery, so it’s important to prepare the house to accommodate them. Make a clear path through the house and do your best to help them avoid stairs. You might have to make an alternative sleeping area on the ground floor, such as a cot or living room recliner. Further, keep an eye out for loose cords or wrinkles in the carpet that might cause them to trip. Gather the things they’ll need regularly—such as medications, water, and a phone charger—and keep them in a nearby basket or side table. This way, they can access it without getting up or moving too much.
Take Care of Meals
A healthy diet is key to a healthy recovery. While many people stock up on frozen meals or leftovers before a major surgery, that can get old quick. You can help mix it up by making them a home-cooked meal or picking up their favorite takeout food. Unfortunately, a lot of people tend to lose their appetite after surgery, so be sure to talk to your loved one ahead of time about their diet and hunger levels. Remember that eating healthy is key to a successful recovery. Even if they don’t have the stomach for a full meal, make sure your loved one is getting the nutrients they need to keep up their energy and continue to heal.
Learn as Much as You Can
If you’re going to be useful throughout the recovery process, you need to know exactly what your loved one is up against. If you’re with them in the hospital, don’t be afraid to ask the doctor and nurses questions about the surgery and recovery process. Do some research about the process and what can help your loved one heal more comfortably. The more information you have, the more helpful you can be throughout the entire process.
Make Sure They Follow Doctor’s Orders
Whether they’re too tired or too emotionally drained, sometimes patients need a little nudge to follow their doctor’s orders. Pay attention to any prescriptions, advice, or other instructions the doctor gives your loved one so you can help them take proper care of themselves. This might mean keeping them on schedule with their pain medications or making sure they wear any prescribed compression garments to help ease discomfort after the surgery. It might also mean ensuring that they eat regularly and drink plenty of water. Whatever they need help with, it’s important to keep your loved one on track so they can continue to recover successfully.
The recovery process can be tough. It’s easy to fixate on the discomfort, lack of mobility issues, and other frightening or disheartening aspects. This is why one of the best ways to support a loved one after major surgery is to simply be a positive influence. Even just keeping them company while they’re stuck in their house or bed can be a huge help. Emotional health is just as important as physical health. When you help your loved one focus on better things, they have a calmer, more optimistic approach to their own recovery.