How much is involved in caring for a spouse at home who is scheduled to have knee replacement?

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Will this require a caregivers full attention for a period of time? 

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  • Posted

    It probably depends on the patient. In my case, my husband was my caregiver when I had my TKR. I had planned meals in advance so he had to do a minimal amount of cooking. He helped me with showering for the first few weeks. Once I got settled on the sofa in the morning, he was a champion in bringing me things that I had forgotten or needed. Since I had been through this before I had a little method. I filled a small backpack with my pills, books, cell phone, water bottle, or whatever I might need for the day. This way I didn't have to constantly ask him to get things for me. He had to drive me to doctor appointments and physical therapy. I was as self-reliant as I could be but I certainly could not have done it without him. Advance preparation is key for both of you. Best wishes.

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  • Posted

    I'm 16 months post-op...

    The answer, IMO, is a bit complex based on phase of recovery.

    - Right after surgery, your spouse will be on some heavy duty meds.  So while there will be a lot of sleeping involved, there are still the needs for getting to the bathroom and walking, which is mandatory.  Walker, crutches, cane, whatever, your spouse will need a steady hand nearby.  You will definitely be doing all the cooking and housekeeping.  Bathing and showering will also require assistance.  Make sure that the med schedule is strictly adhered to.

    - When PT starts, you will need to get your spouse there, probably twice a week plus making sure that the home exercises continue unabated.  Again, housekeeping and cooking are pretty much up to you.  Healthy meals, lots of hydration.

    The above two phases will probably last 3-4 months...expect it...this doesn't get better overnight.  However, there is one thing you need to do above everything else...and it comes down to love.  There is no criticism allowed, no expectations, no nothing. Just love your spouse with all your heart and everything will work out. The depression, sleeplessness, pain, frustrations and more can all be dealt with by loving kindness.

    As time goes by, your spouse will become more and more capable of doing things on his/her own so the burden from you will lift accordingly.  Recovery from a knee replacement takes a year...plan on it.  Your heavy-duty involvement in that will be short-lived but critical.  You MUST stay positive throughout it all.  Somewhere in the 6-9 month range, you will start to recognize your spouse again.  The major pain will be gone as will the walking aids and the inability to do fairly normal things.  But it really takes a full year to be pretty much past everything involved.  It's a challenge, no doubt. Be there with love.

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    • Posted

      Hello Chico Marx,

      What an elegant reply.  I'm entering day 19 post-op tkr and never thought I'd appreciate my spouse more than I do now.  After reading your reply, I reread it to him...we both cried because everything you wrote is so true.  This is a tough journey, but to have someone beside you that cares and loves you will make everything okay.

      Thank you and many blessings,

      Cherry 🍒 and hubby of 50 years

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    • Posted

      I have lots of discussions out there that can help.  Click on my picture or name and then "See All Discussions".  Start with the "...Kidney Stone" one.  Stay strong...you can do this...

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    • Posted

      🏆👑🏆👑🏆👑🏆👑🏆👑🏆👑🏆👑🏆👑🏆👑🏆👑🏆👑

      So well said.

      Does vary of course , for me first two weeks needed a lot of help, then after that apart from housework, cooking and driving I got on with things myself. But as said, a lot of love needed. My husband certainly proved himself to be a real star!

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    • Posted

      I'm post knr 6months, have to say your advice on this forum for me has been spot on . Especially this last post about how much help from a spouse, when recovering. He's been an incredible help to me . Thank you for reminding me not to take him for granted.

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    • Posted

      Showering...  Gonna need some handles...at least two...one each side.  I'm not a fan of drilling holes in tile but the advantage to that is they'll never pull out.  Suction cup handles are way better for a temporary situation (not a permanent disability) but you have to make sure they are completely secure each time you step into the shower (picture attached).  Unclip, push, re-clip.  Easy.

      Then get a shower stool...four legs.  Sit down while showering, especially your hair; use the handles to stand up and do the "unreachable parts". ALWAYS have one hand on a handle!!!  Feel wobbly, sit down.  Sounds easy and it is...just takes a little getting used to.  Just keep thinking "handle".  After a couple of months, you'll be fine on your own.  I still keep the handles there just in case.

      Stairs...  A WHOLE different issue. The patient should require ZERO help going up and down stairs.  Just hang on to the bannister and use a cane for assistance. OK...at the beginning, you may want to be there for moral support but rebuilding leg strength is critical to recovery.  At first, there is no strength so the patient will go up and down leading with their good leg.  Once they start PT, there will be exercises to lead with the NEW knee to rebuild all the quad, glute and core strength where the muscles have atrophied.  Going up and down stairs like a normal person without holding on to anything will require a post-PT exercise program plus a good year time wise.  Stairs are the most difficult hurdle to overcome in recovery to return to a "normal" life.  It takes work, time and patience.  At 17-months, I can go up two at a time...but then my legs were already strong from 45 years of hockey plus I put in a ton of work.  This is my discussion on stairs...

      https://patient.info/forums/discuss/mastering-post-tkr-stairs-552728

      You will see from the comments that it was quite controversial.  Seems that there are two schools of thought on this...make your own choice. 

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  • Posted

     I don't know if you art the spouse or the patient , but I will write  this to the patient . It depends on you and how mobile you are . It should not require full time attention . You will need some help but try to be as self reliant as possible . do as much as you can for yourself as often as you can , but get help when you really need it  . Physio and exercise are very important , but don't over do it , rest is also important . Your physio and doctor should give you some information regarding recovery . Use your medication to control pain , it's easier to do physio and exercise if your pain is under control .  Remember that it is your recovery and may be different to other patients recovery . There is no time scale for any points of recovery , what takes 2 months for one may take 1 or 3 for another . Read plenty of posts on here and you will find most of us had different recovery times and different results , but we get there in the end . Good luck , and look foreword to many pain free years . It's 19½ and 17½ years since I had mine done . 

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  • Posted

    Hi. My husband is 66 and reasonably fit. I stayed home with him for week 1. After that I returned to work. I gave him breakfast and meds before I left. He was able to get about do his physio and exercises etc. only away 6 hours and home to help where needed. Mostly just there for confidence. 

    We are in NZ. 

    Hope this helps. 

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    • Posted

      Yes, my husband was at home most of the time for about a week, and that was ok. Second week he went back to work but was around to help me for around half of each day. That was fine.
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  • Posted

    Yes, it will require full time attention from the caregiver for a time.  In my case, it was about two weeks.  I could get myself to the bathroom alone (I was given a "high-rise" potty chair at the hospital, which I brought home with me) using a walker. I was able to get in and out of a step in shower stall (no tub) once the bandages were removed. I bought some nonskid shower shoes to wear.  I had to wear compression sleeves on both legs for 20 hours a day the first 2-3 weeks, which restricted my moving around. I could not prepare meals, do housework, etc.  I was able to use stairs (very carefully) after 2 weeks or so.  I was driving again at 3 weeks as my surgery was on my left knee.  I had help at home for 4 weeks, then I was on my own as my family had to return to their jobs, children, etc.  As someone else noted in their reply, make sure the patient gets up and walks around frequently even if it is just a short walk from one room to another.  Make sure they take their pain meds and any other prescribed meds on schedule.  If the meds require having some food in the stomach before taking, make sure they have a snack handy that they can reach.  After a few days or week, allow them to do what they can for themselves without overdoing it.  It seems as though people from several different countries are on this forum and aftercare and therapy seems to differ depending on your location. I started physical therapy while I was still in the hospital.  Several hours after surgery I was up and walking around with the aid of the therapist.  I am now almost 12 weeks out and still do PT 3 times a week with a therapist and on off days, I do it on my own at home.  I have made good progress. I still have occasional pain, but take no pain meds except ibuprofen. I am walking without the aid of a walker or cane. The first few weeks can be pretty tough, but things will get better.  Best wishes for a swift and complete recovery!

    Just to add a ps.  I live in the US.  In my area, the surgeon prefers sending the patient home after the surgery; however, if there is no one at home to care for the patient, especially at night, they refer you to a rehab center for about 10-14 days.  

     

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