Posted on 08/07/2020

Staying independent at home after an operation

Staying independent at home after an operation

As the NHS prepares to bring back routine operations after three months, we take a look at some of the top products that can support people after an operation.

After an operation a person will typically be prescribed equipment by the NHS to help them to stay mobile and safe at home. However, there are a wide range of other household products and daily living aids that can help someone to stay independent, occupied and comfortable at home when recovering from an operation or injury.

Improving comfort and posture in bed

If someone needs to spend more time in bed during their recovery, it’s important to think about their posture and, if they are able to, how they can sit up to do daily activities, such as eating meals, comfortably. In some circumstances, plumped pillows may offer comfort when someone is sitting in bed, however a back rest may be considered if the person needs firmer support to help them sit up correctly. If a person is spending more than a day or two in bed they may need to do activities, such as eating or reading from their position. Overbed tables are commonly used in hospitals, but can also offer valuable support for someone who is recovering at home and needs to spend more time in bed. An overbed table can offer a stable surface that rests over the person’s legs either in bed or a chair and prevents the need for a tray to sit on their legs or for the person to have to bend to a standard table.

The importance of hydration during recovery

Hydration helps to maintain our overall wellbeing and can support a person’s recovery, but it can be difficult to have frequent access to a drink if someone has reduced mobility after an operation or injury. Simple solutions, such as keeping a jug of water by the bed can provide easier access to a drink and avoid the person getting up frequently to fill up a glass or having to ask for assistance. Alternatively, drinking aids, such as the Kennedy Cup and one-way straws can be suitable for a person who is recovering in bed as they enable them to drink when they’re lying down and reduce the need to regularly sit up or ask for assistance when they need a drink.

Planning activities for recovery

If someone is inactive for a short while after an operation or injury, it may be worth preparing some activities and finding fun ways to stay in touch with loved ones, especially while we are still only allowed to invite a limited number of people into our home due to COVID-19.

If someone is able to continue one of their hobbies, such as sewing or reading, they may wish to prepare some materials or find some books that they’ve been wanting to read for a while. If they need a bit of support seeing clearly, they may benefit from a high vision lamp which can stand by a chair or bed to keep their vision as clear as possible and reduce the risk of eye strain.

Consider the benefits of a bed rail

Bed rails come in a variety of styles to suit people’s individual needs and the design of their bed at home. A bed rail typically features a strong grab rail that sits at the side of the bed and can offer support to someone when getting into and out of bed, or when sitting up and repositioning themselves. If someone has reduced balance or mobility after an operation, they may consider the use of a bed rail to maintain their comfort and independence in the bedroom. Some bed rails, such as the Parnell Bed Rail are clamped onto the floor and fit closely to the side of the bed to offer support. However, other designs, including the NRS EasyFit Bed Rail fit under the mattress or onto the side of the bed.

If someone is unsure about whether a bed rail is right for themselves or a person they care for, they can contact our free product advice line at [email protected]. The advice line is run by our team of friendly Occupational Therapists and other professionals who can discuss product queries and suitable products for someone’s needs.

To view more daily living aids that can help to support someone during recovery after an operation or injury, please visit our NRS Healthcare website.

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