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Coming home after total hip replacement surgery

Everyone looks forward to going home from the hospital!  With the direct anterior approach to total hip replacement performed by Dr. Robert Zehr, most patients can expect to be home in just 24 hours. Here are a few things you can do to make your homecoming easier on yourself.

Will I need help at home?

Maybe…but unlikely.  Most patients that have done their pre-op physical therapy are able to function well at home without great assistance. Importantly, our program is designed for patients to have a family member (“Caddy”), who has been with you from the beginning and who can help you at home. For the first several days, depending on your progress, you may benefit from someone to assist you with meal preparation, exercise, and encouragement.

Preparation ahead of time, before your surgery, can minimize the amount of help needed after surgery. Having the laundry done, house cleaned, yard work completed, clean linens on the bed, and single portion frozen meals will reduce the need for extra help. Again, most insurance plans, including Medicare, will not cover professional home care help for activities of daily living.  You will have to provide that kind of help from your own financial resources if you want it.

Will I need a private nurse?

No. You do not need a private nurse in the hospital or at home, but if you want one, we can help you make these arrangements.  Most insurances including Medicare will not cover this type of extra care as part of your benefit plan.

What if I live alone?

Most patients leave the hospital independent enough to function at home without assistance from others. You should, however, make all attempts to arrange for a relative or friend to stay with you for at least the first week after discharge because the home health nurse and physical therapist, which are arranged for you, are only with you for a short period of the day. Alternatively, many patients who live by themselves with no family or friends to serve as their “Caddy” do well enough with the short visits of a home health nurse and/or a home physical therapist who visit you at home.  Usually these professional services are covered by your insurance and Medicare.

Will I need physical therapy when I go home?

Yes. You will typically need physical therapy at home for about 1 week. After one week, you are encouraged to walk increasingly longer distances and begin to work out at a gym of your choice.  We have found that formal outpatient physical therapy is not needed by most total hip patients done with a direct anterior approach and serves no useful role in our recovery program.

How often will I need to be seen following the surgery?

You will be seen for your first post-operative office visit ~8 days after surgery to check your wound, post op X-ray and review the forthcoming rehab protocol.  Typically, our physician assistant, Christiane Riella, PA-C performs this review.  Additional visits at 6 weeks post-op and at 1 year, as directed by your surgeon are typical. If any concerns arise, additional visits will be needed to give you the best care.

For more information on this subject, call The Zehr Center for Orthopaedics at 239-596-0100 or visit www.zehrcenter.comThe information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments, or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of a visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read on this topic. 

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