Medical and Nursing Care in the Inpatient Care Units
In the High Dependency Room, the nurse will check your blood pressure and pulse closely for the first 24 hours. In addition, she will inspect the bandage on your hip and also check the colour, warmth, movement and sensation of your leg, heel and foot. Humidified oxygen may be given by mask to assist you in breathing and to loosen secretions in your lungs.
As you are required to rest in bed, we advise that only two visitors at one time can be with you during the visiting hours. When your condition is stable, you will be moved to the general ward.
Relief of Post-Surgery Discomfort
Some level of discomfort is to be expected after the surgery. Whilst you are in bed, your legs may be supported by a special abduction pillow. This is used to keep your hip in neutral position to prevent you from crossing your legs. However, if you find the abduction pillow uncomfortable, please inform your nurse.
It is important that you do not try to twist or turn in bed without your nurses’ help. This is because your new hip can potentially dislocate if it is in the wrong position.
You will be given medications in the form of injection or tablets to relieve any pain, as well as to help you recover from the surgery.
You will be served a light beverage like ovaltine or milk when you have recovered from the effects of the anaesthesia. An intravenous drip will be inserted into your hand or arm. This will be removed once you are drinking adequate amount of fluid and are no longer feeling nauseated. Subsequently, you can have some light food. When your appetite returns to normal, solid food will be served.
Your wound will be covered with a dressing, which will be changed to a lighter and more comfortable one within 48 hours. The wound dressing will be changed if it is soaked with blood or serous fluid from the incision wound.
You will have one or two drainage tubes inserted near your wound. These tubes drain the excess fluid away to prevent swelling and bruising around your hip. They are connected to drainage bottles hooked onto your bed and are removed when instructed by the surgeon.
As your wound heals, you may experience unusual sensations such as tingling, numbness or itching, which are all normal. The stitches or clips on your wound will be removed between 10 to 14 days after the surgery.
Pressure Sore Prevention
While you are confined in bed, it is very important to relieve the pressure from your buttock regularly to prevent it from becoming sore. Your nurse will help you to change position until you are able to do so yourself.
You will find a “patient helper’ attached above the bed. You can use it to lift yourself up. The nurse will show you how to use it properly.
For the first few days when you are confined to bed, washing will take place in bed.
You will be able to have your shower once you are allowed out of bed. The nurse will assist you initially until you are confident to do it yourself.
A combination of changes in your diet, reduced activities and medications may result in a change in your usual bowel habits.
As your diet and mobility improve, your bowel actions will gradually return to normal. You should increase the amount of fibre intake in your diet, by eating more fruits, vegetables or cereals that will help to ease constipation.
You may experience some difficulties in passing urine. Should this happen, please inform the nurses and they will try to help you void normally. If this fails, the nurse or doctor may insert a urinary catheter to drain the urine from the bladder. The catheter will be removed once you are well enough to attend to your own toilet needs.
Your physiotherapist will work out a light hip exercise programme with you. You will be assisted to start walking, usually with the aid of a walking frame, when you are well enough. This normally takes place a few days after surgery. You may progress onto using a crutch if necessary.
Your exercise programme will include going to the gym once a day. In the evening and on weekends, you are encouraged to do the exercises on your own, or ask your nurse for assistance. You will also practise walking up and down the stairs before you are discharged for home.
The occupational therapist will also teach you ways to modify your activities of daily living, and provide you with some helpful tips on home safety.
Length of Stay
The average length of stay for patients undergoing hip surgery is between 10 to 14 days. However, the length of stay may vary with each individual.