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Daily Activities after Joint Replacement Surgery

Helpful resources

Patient stories

  • Steve Towle – Tackling the Pain 
  • Ollie Harbin – A Hip for the Spare

Surgery Day

Review your copy of the patient’s joint education handbook provided during your presurgery class. Be sure to review: 
  • Pain medication
  • Fall prevention
  • Lab tests and vital sign check times
  • Hospital equipment

Your Milestones

  • Stand and begin walking with therapists if approved by your surgeon (Your urinary catheter will be removed in the operating room).
  • Sit on the side of your bed with help from nursing.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and begin eating food by evening.

Day 1 - After Surgery

Review:
  • Hip precautions and knee positioning
  • Medications to prevent constipation and learn how to give yourself injections to prevent blood clots
  • Changes in pain medication from intravenous to oral

Your Milestones

Work with therapists and nurses to:
  • Get out of bed and stand up. Never attempt to stand alone.
  • Walk to the bathroom or bedside commode and out into the hallway.
  • Sit at edge of bed or in your chair for meals.
  • Practice using crutches or walker, if required.
  • Wear your foot pumps at all times when you are in bed.
  • Meet your case manager to confirm plans for discharge to home or skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation and coordinate transfer of care including transportation.
  • Nurse will remove your urinary catheter if you are able to move to bedside commode and if not already removed.

Day 2 - After Surgery

Review:
  • Ways to care for yourself when you leave the hospital
  • Medications you will be taking when you leave the hospital
  • Signs and symptoms of when you should call your doctor
  • How to reach your doctor when you have questions
  • Follow-up appointments

Your Milestones

Work with therapists and nurses to:
  • Walk greater distances in the hallway
  • Walk to the bathroom instead of the commode
  • Practice using stairs as instructed by the physical therapist
  • Sit in your chair for meals
  • Practice giving yourself a blood clot prevention shot, if required
  • Discuss any questions you have about recovery with your doctor or nurse
  • Your nurse will remove your urinary catheter if not already removed.
  • Your nurse will remove your nerve catheter at 6 a.m. on Day 2.
If you are in a stable condition and assessed by your doctor to be able to leave the hospital, you will meet with your case manager and nurse to review your plan of care. Otherwise, you will discuss your plan of care to leave on Day 3 from the hospital.
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