How to Plan for Recovery After Surgery

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Have an after surgery recovery plan
Have an after surgery recovery plan (Image: © Ieva Geneviciene - Fotolia.com)

If you are accustomed to good health, when you face a surgical procedure you may find the worst part is the recovery—unless you prepare ahead of time. These tips can help you plan for recovery after surgery to make the transition back to health go smoother and more quickly.

Things You'll Need

  • Family,
  • Friends,
  • Professional help,
  • Hobby or entertainment materials

Consult with your doctor on what to expect following your surgical procedure, including both normal and extended recovery times. Discuss measures that you can take to promote healing and what limitations, if any, you will be faced with during and after recovery. Ask for professional referrals, such as a nursing assistant, if needed.

Make a list of your obligations and separate those related to work, home and family. Go through the list and eliminate items that are non-essential. Differentiate the difference between what must be done and what you would like accomplished. Focus on the former in your surgical aftercare planning.

Consider reasonable expectations of what you plan to accomplish during recovery and that what you expect from others. If cleaning needs to be done, realize that it may not live up to your standards. If you must relegate job responsibilities, do so in a way that allows you to rest as needed, rather than require your continual input and supervision. Avoid overestimating your abilities if it contradicts with your health, and instead accept the temporary limitations. This will promote a quicker recovery.

Plan for recovery after surgery most effectively by delegating needed tasks in advance. Consider if it will suffice to engage the help of family and friends or if it will be worthwhile to hire professional assistance. People are generally eager to help but may underestimate the extent of the commitment. Have a frank discussion concerning their ability to meet the demands, develop a schedule, and inquire if there is anything you can do to make their work easier.

Rethink new ways to become involved with home and family demands. If you are well enough, take on tasks such as paying the bills or helping the kids with their homework. Tell the family to switch to paper plates to reduce the load on dirty dishes. Play cards with the family in bed. Even minimal involvement can make you and your family feel better and less prone to guilt for needing caretakers or assistance.

Find ways to keep your spirits up and yourself entertained. If you are an active person you may soon become bored with television and magazines. Think of something that you have wanted to do but haven't had the time for and use this time to practice it or learn about it. If you are stuck for ideas ask your creative loved ones for help or simply jump into a new hobby and give it a try. The happier you are the healthier you will be and stimulating activities are an important part of your recovery after surgery.

Tips & Warnings

  • Investigate health forums online where patients who have experienced similar medical conditions gather. Learn from their successes and difficulties in recovery and adjust your after surgery planning accordingly.
  • Some new activities to try include: audio books (for learning or fun), art, calligraphy, writing prose or opinion pieces, online volunteering, models, scrap booking, online education, and much more.

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