Caregiving Tips As Your Loved One Prepares for Surgery

Caregiving Tips As Your Loved One Prepares for Surgery

Posted on March 12, 2014 by ElderCare Resources in Blog, Caregiver Education, Education, Home Care Non-Medical, Home Health Care Medical, Independent Living, Respite Care

According to the US Census Bureau, more than 12 percent of our total population is over the age of 65. And of that segment, more than half will undergo at least one surgical procedure in the coming years.

Which means your loved one at some point may require extra care as they recover from that procedure. Whether you are currently in a caregiving situation, or the need for surgery requires you to step up as a caregiver even if for just a short time period, the role can be daunting at best.

Research shows that seniors are at an increased risk for experiencing complications, both during and after the surgery. In an effort to try and reduce those odds, the more you prepare upfront, the better chance you will have in making the process as smooth as possible.

Even if your loved one is currently independent and wants to handle this on their own, the more you get involved now, the greater the chance they will remain independent after the surgery as well.

1. Get to know the physicians

While your loved one may be facing this with blinders on and focusing in on the issue only, go with her and discover what else you should know. Should your loved one receive a second opinion? Should you meet with the anesthesiologist prior to surgery to discuss the risks? Should you meet with a geriatric specialist to discuss the multiple medications your loved one is taking and how they may impact the surgery and recovery process? While your loved one may be upset in the beginning, if you explain that its in your best interest too to keep her healthy and living as independently as possible, she may welcome your second opinion and come to value what you can add.

2. Ask questions

If you’ve never had surgery before, this is a new experience. No question is too trivial to ask. Rather than relying on memory, keep a notebook handy and write down a list of questions as you think of them. Important questions include:

  • Can you tell me more about the procedure?
  • Where will the surgery be conducted?
  • How long while it take?
  • What should the recovery process look like?
  • What do I need to do before the procedure?
  • What should I expect after?
  • Who will be my anesthesia provider and what should I know about the process?
  • What risks do I face?
  • What side effects may I face?
  • When will I be completely healed?
  • When can I resume normal activities?

3. Prepare for the surgery conversation

Once you agree to the surgery, schedule a final meeting with the doctor before the event takes place. Plan out your preoperative meeting to make sure you feel comfortable with the entire situation, and feel like your surgeon is well prepared. Make sure he knows:

  • Your loved ones entire medical history, including past experiences with depression, allergic reactions, and any complications you have faced.
  • Any lab tests or diagnostic studies he may not have had access to before. If something may be relevant, share it so know surprises occur during the procedure.
  • Status of family and friend support. Create a full list of people that need to be connected with in the event of complications.
  • Any concerns you may have that were not expressed until now.

4. Step up as a caregiver

While this may be your first time as a caregiver, remember you are there for the benefit of your loved one. Take charge whenever possible during the procedure. Rely on others around you to fill in with your normal activities so you can concentrate on what’s best for your loved one. Make sure you have all medical records during the procedure, and are there for questions that may arise. Keep track of your loved ones personal belongings, such as eye glasses and hearing aids. As your loved one recovers, they may have post surgical complications they overlook or simply ignore. Be their eyes and ears, and connect with the doctor when appropriate. Remember, this is in her best interest. Always remember your goal is to get her back to a normal life. Step in now when you need to and avoid unnecessary complications down the road.

Published: Adeste In-Home Care