Bathroom Safety: Following Hip and Knee Replacement
You probably know someone who has had total joint replacement of the hip or knee as a result of painful arthritis, an injury or overuse. The number of people having these surgeries is rapidly increasing, but did you know one of the common fears post-surgery is falling?
By 2030, the number of knee replacements in the United States is expected to jump 673 percent to 3.48 million, according to a study presented at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Hip replacements are expected to grow 174 percent to 572,000. The dramatic growth predicted for future generations is due to baby boomers seeking ways to stay active longer.
Not only do clients obtain pain relief after undergoing surgery, but they also have greater mobility and increased function. According to the Orthopaedic Associates of Portland, physicians' and patients' understanding of the risks, benefits, and goals of total joint replacement have evolved significantly.
Most patients have some temporary pain in the replaced joint because the surrounding muscles are weak from inactivity and the tissues are healing, but it will end within a few weeks to a few months. Exercise and ambulating are important components in the recovery process by minimizing the risk for the development of blood clots.
Making Home Safe Home
Following total hip or knee replacement, clients will often stand and begin walking the day after surgery. Many will start out with a walker, crutches or a cane. But how do they make their bathrooms safe?
Bathrooms are the most dangerous rooms in the house due to the moisture and slippery surfaces. As a result, bathrooms often need modifications if someone with hip or knee replacement surgery wants to feel safe independently.
Shopping For a Safe Bathroom:
Since falls occur most often coming in and out of the tub, suggest that clients use non-slip mats in the tub.
Grab bars can make clients feel more secure and are now designed to be less institutional looking and blend in well with bathroom decor.
Suggest that clients use an elevated toilet seat. This will help keep them from bending too far at the hips, following hip replacement.
Clients should assess the safety of their bathrooms and remove any throw rugs or area rugs that could cause slips or falls.
Advise clients to securely fasten electrical cords around the perimeter of the room.
Encourage clients to install a shower chair, transfer bench and raised toilet in the bathroom.
Clients can benefits from assistive devices such as a long-handled shoehorn, a long-handled sponge and a grabbing tool or reacher to avoid bending over too far. Advise clients to wear a big-pocket shirt or soft shoulder bag for carrying things.
Clients can benefit from setting up a "recovery center" in their home, with a phone, television remote control, radio, facial tissues, wastebasket, pitcher and glass, reading materials and medications within easy reach.
While mobility is essential to the recovery process for hip and knee replacements, clients also want safety. And by choosing the right bathroom safety products, their personal safety at home can be achieved.
This article originally appeared in the July 2006 issue of HME Business.