How to Help Someone After Bypass Surgery at Home

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Help Someone After Bypass Surgery at Home
Help Someone After Bypass Surgery at Home

How to Help Someone After Bypass Surgery at Home. Bypass surgery is a major operation, requiring many weeks of proper postoperative care. The more you can help your loved one through the lengthy recovery process, the quicker and more able he or she will be to return to a normal life.

Things You'll Need

  • High-fiber Foods
  • Antimicrobial Soap

Follow the doctor's orders, and avoid being overprotective. If the doctor has told the patient to walk for 10 minutes, three times a day, and the patient tells you he doesn't feel up to it, tell him he has to walk anyway.

Give the patient his prescribed medication as ordered. Sometimes, especially in the first few weeks, the patient can get a bit confused about the time because he's taking catnaps and his routine is different.

Help keep his chest and leg incisions clean and dry. Wash with an antimicrobial soap. If you see redness or drainage, especially green, yellow or rust-colored, call the doctor immediately.

Feed the patient high-fiber, low-fat meals rich in fruits and vegetables. This will speed up the recovery process as well as keep the patient's bowels moving. If he does become constipated, call the doctor's office. He should not strain.

Encourage him to bathe, shave and dress every day, even though he'll only be sitting most of the day.

Talk to the patient a bit more slowly than you might normally have before surgery. Do this for a few weeks, as the patient may not understand everything you're saying right away. It's only temporary.

Provide a quiet, odor-free environment for the first recovery weeks. Keep perfumes, frying foods and cleaning products to a minimum. Restore an otherwise normal daily routine for both of you as quickly as possible.

Limit visitors. Each patient is different, but generally, most bypass patients aren't ready for a lot of company until the eighth or ninth post-op week.

Address emotional issues. Many bypass patients feel depressed. You may feel depressed too. If so, talk to your doctor about getting professional help. It's perfectly natural to feel this way. Don't be embarrassed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Usually by the eighth post-op week, the patient is "back to his old self."
  • The American Heart Association offers cardiac bypass support groups, known as "Mended Hearts," in most communities. Call (800) AHA-USA1 for more information.
  • If you have any questions or concerns, contact a physician or other health care professional before engaging in any activity related to health and diet. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.

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