When someone you love has surgery of any kind, you may want to help them with their postoperative care. Before you agree to tend to them after their surgery, you need to know exactly what you should be doing as they recuperate. It’s important that your loved one receive the best care and if you able to provide it to them, all the better.
Directly after the operation
Immediately following surgery, your loved one will be groggy. First thing’s first: Do not let them drive. If you cannot pick them up, arrange for a taxi or car service to bring them home. Furthermore, if there is any equipment or medication that they will be needing, ensure that it has been prearranged with the person’s doctor. If necessary, learn how to use the equipment and set timers to indicate when your loved one should take their medication.
During the recovery period
Your loved one may feel like a burden while you are caring for them after their surgery. Assure them that this is not the case and you are happy to monitor them as they recuperate. Encourage them to rest and limit visitors if you worry it will be too much for the person to handle.
Make sure that the room they will be spending most of their postoperative time in has a clear path to a washroom. If they will be incapacitated and cannot move in the days that follow their procedure, you may have to use a bedpan. Ask their doctor beforehand on what to do in that case. Moreover, your loved one may require soft foods or dietary restrictions as they recover. Ensure that they are getting the nutrients they need and eating what their doctor has recommended.
When to get help
If the person you are caring for experiences lightheadedness, faints, or won’t wake up when prompted, you need to call 911. Uncontrollable shaking, sudden severe pain (or pain that worsens even with painkillers), body temperature spikes (high-fever), and blood or fluid soaking through bandages are also signs that you should call an ambulance.
Do not let your loved one drink or eat anything while you are waiting for emergency personnel to arrive. Also, do not remove bandages that are soaked through with blood or fluid. Instead, hold a towel in place on top of the wound. Do not tie the towel or tape it either as it could cause serious damage to the infected area.
Caring for a loved one after they’ve endured surgery can be tough. However, you are providing them a great service and they’ll surely be thankful for the time you’ve put in to help them recover.
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