Do you know movement could be the key to a quicker recovery after surgery? We asked the experts at Renown Surgical Services the steps to take (literally) to get back on your feet.
Hearing the words “you need surgery” can be frightening, especially if you don’t know what to expect. The team at Renown Surgical Services answers some frequently asked questions, including how to improve post-surgery mobility to optimize your recovery.
What can I do to help begin my recovery?
While you are in bed, move your legs and feet up and down. Be sure to ask the nurses to help you get out of bed and into the chair for all your meals, or walk to the bathroom when needed. If you feel up to it, take a walk in the hallways with the nursing staff.
What are the advantages of getting out of my hospital bed early after surgery?
This may be surprising, but too much rest is not necessarily a good thing. The old saying “You use it, or you lose it” rings very true to maintaining the strength needed to get yourself out of bed.
Beginning the mobility process early in your hospital stay will not only help you maintain strength and function, it may also help you get home sooner. Lying in bed all day will not only delay your healing time, it can also allow serious complications to arise, including pneumonia, deep vein thrombosis or blood clots, pressure ulcers and sometimes constipation.
When will my nurse/healthcare provider ask me to get out of bed?
Getting out of bed, sitting in a chair for meals and walking around your room or hospital unit can help reduce your risk of complications. The nursing staff will help you out of bed the same day of your surgery if it’s cleared by your doctor.
Can I get out of bed on my own?
The nursing staff is here to keep you safe, so make sure you call them for assistance getting out of bed. Even if you think you can do it yourself, use your call light to notify the nursing staff you are ready to get up and move.
In addition, new medications can sometimes impair our judgment, balance and safety, so it’s always better to have help even though you may not need it. This is also why you may have a “bed alarm” on, to remind you to call for help and keep you safe while you are recovering.
What if I’m in pain and having trouble getting out of bed?
Many people find that getting up and moving actually helps their pain, rather than making it much worse. Taking the right amount of medication at the right times will minimize your pain and help you to get moving. Your care team will work with you on how much pain medication is right to manage any postoperative pain, with the goal for you to be comfortable enough to be able to move and gradually increase your activity each day.
What can I do when I return home to improve my recovery time?
Mobility doesn’t end once you’re discharged from the hospital. It’s key to keep moving to maintain health and function.
When you first arrive home, it’s crucial to take frequent movement breaks throughout the day. Increase activity as it becomes more comfortable, and be sure to ease back into an active daily routine. If you have concerns about your mobility once home, be sure to discuss this with your doctor at your follow-up appointment.
And ask your doctor if you have any questions about your medical condition or the specific surgical procedure planned, or call Renown Surgical Services at 775-982-3993.