When an older adult has a joint replacement surgery, they may have two options for recovery. They could recover at home or go to a rehabilitation facility. Having those options may leave family caregivers wondering which option is better. They may even wonder if recovering at home is safe. If your aging relative is scheduled for joint replacement surgery and you’re wondering what to do afterward, you may be happy to hear that a recent study indicates recovery at home may be the best option.

About the Study

Researchers gathered information from 17 million hospitalizations involving people with Medicare coverage. The hospitalizations occurred between 2010 and 2016. All of the patients were older adults. Although not all of them were in the hospital for a joint replacement, that was the most common reason for hospitalization. Afterward, the patients either went home or were admitted to a skilled nursing facility. The results of the study showed:

  • People who recovered at home experienced the same level of improvement in their functional abilities as those in a facility.
  • The mortality rate within 30 days of hospitalization was no higher for people who went home.
  • Costs were lower for those who went home.
  • Rehospitalizations were a little higher for those who recovered at home.

What to Expect After Joint Replacement Surgery

Although recovering at home may be a safe and less expensive option for your aging relative, it is important that family caregivers know what to expect and are prepared for the level of care required. Exactly what you can expect will depend on which joint the older adult has replaced. Complete recovery from a hip replacement can take between 6 and 12 months. Knee replacement recovery can take from 3 to 6 months or longer.

After the surgery, the older adult will be unable to drive for some time, so family caregivers will need to be prepared to take them to medical appointments, the grocery store, worship services, and other places. They will likely be unable to be alone for a while after surgery, too, so you’ll need to arrange for someone to be with them round-the-clock.

If family caregivers are unable to take on all of the responsibilities of caring for their older family member after a joint replacement surgery, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll have to go to a facility to recover. Another option is to hire a senior care provider to take on some of the responsibility. Senior care providers can be scheduled to fill in the gaps in your aging relative’s care schedule, coming to the home while family caregivers are at work or otherwise unavailable. Senior care providers can also take overnight shifts, allowing family members to get the rest they need.

Sources

https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2019/joint-replacement-recovery-at-home.html?intcmp=AE-HP-TTN-R2-POS3-REALPOSS-TODAY

https://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/timeline-hip-replacement

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/hip-replacement/about/pac-20385042

https://www.arthritis-health.com/surgery/knee-surgery/what-expect-after-knee-replacement

When you are in need of care for a senior loved one, consider caregivers provided by Golden Heart Senior Care. We have offices nationwide. For more information, call us today at (800) 601-2792.