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April 6, 2016 - TCO

The Week Before Surgery

  1. Getting your house ready

    Some common things in your home may now be dangerous. To prevent falls, you should remove or watch out for:

    • Long phone or electrical cords that lie across the floor
    • Loose rugs or carpet
    • Furniture you might trip over in stairs and hallways
    • Stacks of books, piles of magazines,mail, etc.
    • Pets that run in your path
    • Water spills on bare floors
    • Bare bathroom tile or slippery floors
    • Ice or mildew on outdoor steps

    It would also help to:

    • Arrange the most frequently used kitchen utensils and food on shelves and counters that can be reached easily.
    • Have a chair or stool handy in the kitchen to sit in while preparing and cooking food.
    • Leave most frequently used dishes in the dish rack, and most frequently used foods in the most accessible cabinets.
    • Have a rolling cart to take food from the refrigerator to the counter, and from the counter to the table.
    • Have a walker bag or apron with pockets to carry small items such as glasses, books, silverware, etc.
    • Attach a cup holder to your walker to carry drinks in covered cups.
    • Arrange for someone to care for or feed your pets.
  2. Packing your bags

    Make sure to take these things with you to the hospital:

    • Exercise shoes with closed-in heel and non-slip soles
    • Grooming items such as shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.
    • A list of medications you are currently taking at home, including the name, strength and how often you take each medication
    • A list of allergies (to food, clothing,medicine, etc.) and how you react to each one
    • Any education materials you received in pre-admission classes
    • A copy of your Living Will and Health Care Power-of-Attorney, if you have either one. Hospital personnel are required by law to ask for these when you are admitted. They will make a copy for your medical record and return the original.
    • A copy of your insurance card
    • A walker if you already have one, and a list of other adaptive equipment you may have at home with your name on all equipment you take to the hospital. It is good to have your walker at the hospital prior to discharge so the physical therapist can check to assure that it is the appropriate size for you.
    • Glasses, hearing aid, and any other items you use every day
    • Loose fitting comfortable clothing to wear home, pajamas, underwear, and socks/stockings. Note that the hospital provides gowns, robes, slipper socks, and a small toiletries supply. Most patients, however, do supplement these with their own supplies from home.
    • Papers from the blood bank if you have donated your own blood
    • Leave jewelry, credit cards, keys and checkbooks home.
  3. Special Equipment (optional)

    Ask your occupational therapist about special equipment to help you do routine things for yourself after surgery. These tools include:

    • Dressing sticks – to help you put on and take off your pants or underwear
    • Long shoe horns – to help you put on your shoes
    • Elastic shoe laces – to make your laced shoes into slip-ons
    • Grabber – to help you pick up things without bending over, reach items from high and low shelves, get clothes in an out of front loading washers and dryers, etc.
    • Long-handled sponge – to help reach without stretching inappropriately
    • Soap on a rope – to prevent bending to retrieve items in the shower
    • Extender for woman’s razor – for shaving legs safely
    • Raised commode seat – to put your knees in proper position below hips
    • Bathtub benches and handrails – to improve bathroom safety
    • Handheld shower – for washing while seated
    • Long-handled feather duster – for dusting low and high items
    • Long handled Johnny Mop – for cleaning out the tub or shower