When you are planning to have any type of surgery, it is wise to take time before the procedure to decide how you are going to recover. After all, no matter what type of surgery you are having, your body will have undergone some level of trauma, so it is naïve to believe that you will immediately resume normal activities. You won’t go straight from the operating table to waiting tables!
In many cases, you might need to recover from your surgery in a rehabilitation facility that can offer you not only post-operative medical care but also experienced staff that can assist you with various types of therapies. So consider the following tips for medical rehabilitation before you schedule your surgery to ensure a faster and more complete recovery.
First, consider going to a rehabilitation facility that focuses on your vocational and social needs, physical endurance and lifestyle in addition to your medical status. After all, you want more than a scheduled blood pressure and temperature check by nursing staff. You want to return to your pre-operative state as quickly-and safely-as possible. Of course your surgeon will have specific facilities with which he prefers to work, but it is important that you find one that gives you all the care that you need. Otherwise your recovery might not be a complete one.
Next, insist upon a team approach to your medical rehabilitation. This means that you want your surgeon to work with your rehabilitation physician, nurse, therapists and pharmacist. Teamwork ensures that everyone is kept apprised of your condition and progress throughout your stay in a rehabilitation facility so that all the aspects of your recovery are kept in sync. If you have undergone surgery for a heart condition, you want your physical therapist to know what medications have been prescribed. You also want your pharmacist to understand that you cannot gain the best results from physical therapy if your medication makes you feel too sleepy. You may even want a registered dietician on the team, so ensure that your nutritional needs are coordinated with your physical therapy and medications.
Another tip to consider is one that relates to pain management. Simply taking prescribed painkillers may not be appropriate for every patient. Different patients have different levels of tolerance to pain. Discuss your pain tolerance with your surgeon before the surgery then have him or her communicate with the rehab facility and pharmacy staff to make sure that you receive the proper dosage and type of painkillers for your particular needs.
The primary goal of any rehabilitation is to return to as normal a lifestyle as possible. That is why it is important that you find experts with whom you can work most comfortably. No matter what type of rehabilitation you need, you want to be comfortable communicating your needs to the people with whom you are working. That means that personality is important. If you are a reserved person, you might not be comfortable with a gung-ho physical therapist. If you are outgoing, you might be dissatisfied with a speech therapist who doesn’t push you to test your limits. So don’t hesitate to ask for a different person to work with you in any of those areas.
Consider how rehabilitation will fit with your lifestyle as you get better. While full recovery is your aim, the added stress of juggling scheduled visits to the rehabilitation center with your job or caring for a child can delay your progress. Discuss with your spouse, children, doctor, and employer what you will need to do after your surgery. Doing so ahead of time will make your post-operative recovery far less stressful on you and everyone else in your life.
Finally, be honest and open with your care providers. Don’t be afraid to speak up if your physical therapist is pushing you to the point of pain. Don’t be afraid to ask your speech therapist to slow down if you feel that he or she is pushing you too fast. Don’t be afraid to request a change in your diet if your nutritional needs are not being met. Of course, you want to listen to the advice of the experts on your team. But no one knows your body as well as you do, so take the time to explain when you feel that you aren’t getting enough calories in your meal, or if the speed on the treadmill is too fast for your recovering joints.
Whatever type of surgery you have planned, take time beforehand to discuss your medical rehabilitation needs with your surgeon. Then be proactive in meeting with the rehabilitation staff to discuss your concerns and needs before your procedure. Doing so will ensure that your rehabilitation goes more smoothly and that you will return to your normal lifestyle as quickly as possible.
The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for medical advice. All medical information presented should be discussed with your healthcare professional. Remember, the failure to seek timely medical advice can have serious ramifications. We urge you to discuss any current health related problems you are experiencing with a healthcare professional immediately.