Preparing Your Home, Rehabilitation and Discharge

Preparing Your Home

Preparing for surgery includes preparing your home. It is important for an easier and safer recovery process. Preparing your home before surgery makes less work for your family while you are in the hospital and also makes your discharge smoother.

Storage: Avoid Reaching

  • Store all food and other supplies between your waist and shoulder level
  • Remove items from top shelves and place at counter level
  • Do not use step stools or reach for objects on your tiptoes
  • Stock up on frozen food and canned goods

Rearrange: Easy Access

  • If you normally sleep on the 2nd level, try to go upstairs only 1x per day if your surgeon says it is OK
  • Prepare a room on the 1st floor with all your needed supplies
  • Place the phone within reach
  • Attach a bag or lightweight basket to your walker to carry light items

Arrange: Help

  • Make arrangements, if possible, for someone to stay with you, especially at night for the first 2 weeks
  • Ask a friend or family member if they will be able to buy groceries, run errands for you or drive you to your appointments
  • Request help from others with cooking, bathing, and exercises

Clean up: Remove Rugs and Clutter

  • Remove any throw rugs in your house so that walking will be safer during your recovery
  • Look around the room for electrical cords, footstools, pets and other obstacles that may be a safety hazard after surgery
  • Rearrange your furniture to allow a clear path for your walker
  • Make sure your pets are in a secure place while you are walking to avoid injury


After discharge from the hospital, and or skilled nursing facility(short term stay), and homecare, your physician may recommend Physical Therapy to assist you with further improvement for strength, range of motion, and ambulation. Physical Therapy is often essential for your full recovery.

Exeter Hospital has several outpatient rehabilitation centers in the community where you can receive the best care close to home.

You may also benefit from aquatic therapy in a heated pool, which is offered at Comprehensive Outpatient Therapy. Your doctor and Orthopedic Care Manager will help you schedule your therapy program based upon your individual needs.

Hospital Discharge

Your doctor will decide if you will be able to return directly home after discharge from the hospital, or if you would benefit from the care at a skilled rehabilitation facility(short term stay) before returning home. Age, overall barriers, physical barriers at home and insurance coverage may determine discharge destination. Your orthopedic case manager will help you make that transition as well.

  • Discharge to a skilled nursing facility or
  • Discharge to home care services which may include nursing, physical and occupational therapy

Discharge Checklist


  • Use a walker or crutches to assist with walking
  • Continue normal walking activities at home
  • Use a pillow between your legs in bed
  • Continue your therapy exercises
  • Get help to put on your shoes and socks, or use the aids described in physical therapy
  • Use an elevated toilet as instructed
  • Take your medication as directed
  • Keep your return appointment with your doctor

Do Not:

  • Do not overdo your activities
  • Do not bend your hip more than 90 degrees
  • Do not sit in low or overstuffed chairs
  • Do not bend over
  • Do not cross your knees
  • Do not sit in the bathtub. Take showers or sponge baths
  • Do not drive until approved by your doctor

Call your surgeon if you develop any of these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Drainage from the incision
  • Swelling around the incision
  • Redness around the incision
  • Chest pain
  • Chest congestion
  • Difficulty breathing

Adaptive Equipment

Because every patient recovers differently, your surgeon will prescribe equipment that is best for your individual recovery. Some of this equipment is optional, and insurance coverage varies. Your case manager will help you to understand your insurance coverage and order the prescribed equipment for you as indicated.

  • Walking aids: to help steady your gait and provide support
  • Elevated toilet seat: to use on your toilet at home to reduce stress on your hips and knees
  • Set cushion: to use on a chair to elevate the seat to the appropriate height
  • Bath seat: Extends over the side of the tub to help you bathe safely and maintain precautions
  • Long handled bath sponge: to assist you in washing and to avoid bending; you can wrap a towel around the sponge to help with drying off
  • Dressing stick: to assist you in dressing yourself when you cannot bend; combination of hook-pusher on one end helps you pull on slacks or skirts, or remove socks
  • Sock aid: put the sock over the end of the sock aid, and pull on most of the sock. Lower the aid down to your foot by suing the straps, and place your foot into the opening of the sock. Pull the aid until the sock is all the way on. The sock aid pulls out of the top of the sock
  • Long handled shoehorn: the handle on this shoehorn has been extended to avoid unnecessary bending when putting your shoes on. Place the shoe horn inside the back of your shoe and push your heel down into the shoe
  • Elastic shoelaces: Lace the elastic shoelaces into your shoes and tie them. These rubber/rayon laces provide firm support yet stretch to allow your feet to slip in or out of the shoes without having to untie and retie them

Maintaining Your Good Health for Healthy Bones and Joints

Exeter Hospital has many resources conveniently located at the hospital and throughout the community to help you maintain the gains you made through surgery and rehabilitation.

  • Choose an individualized exercise program
  • Continue to exercise, strengthen and condition
  • Join a Fitness Center
  • Attend nutrition and weight control classes
  • Quit smoking