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Getting Ready for Joint Replacement

By Hilary Wright

(Page 2 of 2)

As an appointed family caregiver, remember, unless your loved one is faced with several other medical issues, your caregiving responsibilities will only be temporary, with a recovery period lasting a few weeks as opposed to a few years. Many of your duties may include all or some of the following: helping your loved one stand, sit, lie down, or move throughout the home; provide help with bathing, hygiene, grooming, dressing, and feeding; go shopping, clean the house, cook the meals, do the laundry, and run errands important to the function of their home; keep track of all medical appointments, and provide transportation to and from each of these; pick up their prescriptions, administer medications, clean the surgical site and change the dressings; help them use assistive mobility devices such as canes or walkers, and know where these items are at all times; keep in constant contact with your loved oneís healthcare team, especially in regards to any changes, complications or concerns; help manage their finances by remembering to help pay or send in regular household bills, as well as tend to insurance paperwork related to their present condition. Also, make a list of your own questions that you would like to ask your loved oneís healthcare team, as well as make a list of things you would like to inform them about regarding your loved oneís condition, such as constipation, incontinence, or a noticeable change in their personality or disposition. If a member of the healthcare team tells you something that you donít understand, donít be embarrassed to ask for clarification. After all, youíre dealing with your loved oneís health, and thatís not something to be taken lightly.

After surgery, your loved will experience good days and bad days, so be prepared for both. The biggest reward as a caregiver is being able to witness the progress of your loved one. Prior to the procedure, they most likely endured constant pain when attempting to do the most basic things; however, as they recuperate, youíll begin to see them experience the joy of rediscovering greater mobility without pain. Little by little, theyíll be more independent and will be able to become involved in activities of a more physical nature. They may even be able to resume some beloved sports like tennis, hiking, swimming and walking. The time and care that youíve put into being a family caregiver will be amply rewarded when you see your loved one not only back to doing their regular, day-to-day routine, but when they begin to enjoy life even more because they no longer experience the pain that held them back. You can take great pride in knowing that you made a difference, and that you were a part of this miraculous, life-changing event!

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