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 Preparing Your Home

Bath enclosure

After your surgery, you will not be able to move around as easily as before for the first few weeks. It is important to prepare your home ahead of time so it will be safe for you when you return home.

Click on the following tabs to read about tips to help you get ready:

Arranging for Help

  • If you live on your own, arrange to have someone stay with you after your surgery. The length of time will depend on your own personal situation, but plan for at least two to three days. If they cannot stay with you in your home, they should be available by phone and a short drive away.
  • Arrange to have someone bring you home from the hospital.
  • Your support person should be prepared with a key for mailbox, house key, and instructions for caring for pets and plants.

Floors and Stairs

  • Remove scatter and area rugs, electrical cords, doorway obstacles and other hazards that may interfere with your getting around safely.
  • Buy bags of salt/sand if icy weather anticipated and arrange to have someone help maintain the entrances to home.
  • Ensure there are handrails on all staircases indoors and out.

Bedroom and Bathroom

  • Prepare your bath area with grab bars as able, and any recommended equipment (e.g. hand held shower and a bath chair) that you will need for personal hygiene when you first go home, and a bathmat or non-slip coating for your shower or tub.
  • Many patients having hip replacement surgery will need a raised toilet seat. This may not be needed if you already have an elevated height toilet or if you are of a shorter stature (e.g. less than 5’2”) where you are not able to rest your feet on the floor when sitting on the raised toilet seat. The equipment you need can be purchased before surgery from a medical supply store, or borrowed from the Red Cross.
  • Be sure light bulbs are freshly changed and that hallways, stairs and bathrooms are well lit.
  • Install nightlights from your sleep area to bathroom.
  • Your bed mattress should be at least knee height as well, if not, consider putting an old mattress underneath it to raise it higher.
  • You may choose to make a bedroom for yourself on the main level if your home has a long staircase for the first few weeks at home.

Living Space

  • Prepare a recovery place in your home. For hip replacement, set up a chair that is at least knee height, firm, and with armrests. You will use this chair for about 6 weeks or so upon your return home. Stay away from soft low couches, arm chairs or “recliner” type chairs. If your chair is too low, buy firm cushions to make it higher.
  • Make sure your telephone and important telephone numbers are in easy reach of the chair.

Meals and Food

  • It may be a good idea to prepare food and freeze meals so that you will not have to cook meals, and to stock up on canned foods.
  • Reorganize your cupboards and fridge so that most commonly used items are at waist level and within easy reach.

Activities and Services

  • Do any activities ahead of time that require you to leave the house such as grocery shopping or banking. You can check with your local grocery store to see if they have delivery programs. Other areas to check with for food programs are Meals on Wheels, or frozen favourites that may be offered through VON.
  • Get a waist carryall or lightweight backpack, to carry small things around your house, to keep your hands free to use the walker or cane.
  • Cancel any services you will not need while you are in hospital, such as newspaper delivery.