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Home Care After Knee Replacement Surgery

When Does Medicare Not Cover In

Care for Your Knee After Knee Replacement Surgery

In most cases, Medicare doesnt cover these types of in-home health care.

  • Home health aides, when the only care you need is custodial. That means you need help bathing, dressing, and/or using the bathroom.
  • Round-the-clock care
  • Homemaker services, like cleaning, laundry, and shopping. If these services arent in your care plan, and theyre the only care you need, theyre generally not covered.

Its important to know that just because your doctor might recommend home health care, Medicare doesnt automatically cover it. It depends on your situation.

What To Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery

When the surgery is over, you will need to stay in the hospitals recovery room for observation. Usually, patients can return to their hospital rooms within a few hours after their pulse, blood pressure, and breathing are stable. Since knee replacement is major surgery, its common for the patient to be in the hospital for a few days before returning home. You will begin physical therapy during this in-hospital time.

When its time to head home, your medical team will have a transition plan to help with continued physical therapy and pain management. Its crucial that you are diligent about following these recommendations to regain the range of motion and strength needed in the joint.

Three To 6 Weeks After Surgery

  • Continue with your home exercise program. This will have a big impact on your recovery.
  • You may continue to have pain, discomfort, stiffness and swelling. This is common and should get better over time. Continue treating with elevation, ice and other non-medicine ways to treat pain. If you feel new pain or your pain gets worse, call your surgeon right away.
  • It is common to have trouble sleeping. It may be helpful to:
  • avoid sleeping or napping too much during the day
  • create a routine of going to bed and waking up at the same time each day
  • changing positions in bed
  • avoid drinking too many liquids right before going to bed
  • avoid stress before bed. Call your surgeon if you continue to have problems sleeping.
  • You may start walking without an assistive walking device when your surgeon says it is OK.
  • You may be able to do most activities around the house if your surgeon says it is OK.
  • You may be able to drive if:
  • you are not taking pain medicine
  • your surgeon says it is OK.
  • You may resume sexual activity when you are ready.
  • A firm mattress is recommended.
  • Be the passive partner for the first 6 weeks after surgery.
  • Follow your knee precautions if you have them.
  • Visit for more information about resuming sexual activity.
  • Your surgeon may want you to schedule an appointment 6 weeks after surgery to have your incision checked and talk about physical activity.
  • Read Also: What Is The Normal Range Of Motion After Knee Replacement

    What Is Knee Replacement Surgery

    Knee replacement surgery is a surgical technique to repair the knee joint. Plastic and metal prosthetic parts are attached to the bones in the knee joint. During the procedure, damaged cartilage and bone are cut away. Then an artificial joint is put in place.

    This surgery might be required for someone with a severe knee injury or people who experience pain from chronic arthritis. A sports medicine doctor might recommend knee replacement surgery based on your knees strength, stability, and range of motion. A variety of surgical techniques and prostheses can be used, depending on your weight, age, knee size and shape, activity level, and overall health.

    How To Stay Safe At Home After Surgery

    7 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Recovery from Knee Replacement Surgery ...

    It is critical that you have all of the necessary tools to stay safe while at home following surgery. You will need a cane, crutches, or a walker to lift things from the floor, put on your pants, and remove your socks, as well as a reacher to assist you in picking up the items. You will also require a sock aid in order to put on your socks. Handle bars should be installed in the bathroom so you can keep your balance.

    Read Also: Can Knee Cartilage Repair Itself

    Seven To 12 Weeks After Surgery

    Two months after recovery, youll probably notice youre much more mobile than you were the first few weeks after surgery.

    During this final phase of physical therapy, youll do more intense exercises that increase your strength and mobility. This will likely include more strenuous aerobic and strength exercises.

    If you have any high-impact activities that you enjoy, your physical therapist will also teach you techniques for modifying those activities so you can safely enjoy them while you recover.

    Do Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans Cover Nursing Home Costs

    Some Medicare Supplement insurance plans include increased coverage in skilled nursing facilities . Medicare Supplement insurance plans may cover your out-of-pocket costs for doctor visits and other medical services covered under Part A and Part B while you are a nursing home resident.

    You can start comparing Medicare Advantage plans right away just enter your zip code in the box on this page.

    New To Medicare?

    Becoming eligible for Medicare can be daunting. But dont worry, were here to help you understand Medicare in 15 minutes or less.

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    Recommended Reading: How To Treat Swollen Knee From Arthritis

    Receiving Proper Home Care

    People who dont live with their parents or grandparents and have just gone through a joint replacement might have more chances of facing recovery if they did it back home. Rather than keep staying in the hospital for an indefinite period and follow a rehabilitation program, your loved one can benefit from outpatient solutions from the comforts of their household.

    Back in the day, senior patients living on their own who required their knees or hips replaced or faced other health conditions were expected to stay in the hospital or rehabilitation center. But now that there are more options on receiving adequate healthcare for your loved one, depending on their situation, they could opt for home health aid instead.

    Getting Into And Riding In A Car

    What To Do At Home After Total Knee Replacement

    When getting into a car:

    • Get into the car from street level, not from a curb or doorstep. Have the front seat moved back as far as possible.
    • Car seats shouldn’t be too low. Sit on a pillow if you need to. Before you get into a car, make sure you can slide easily on the seat material.
    • Turn around so the back of your knee is touching the seat and sit down. As you turn, have someone help lift your legs into the car.

    When riding in a car:

    • Break up long car rides. Stop, get out, and walk around every 45 to 60 minutes.
    • Do some of the simple exercises, like ankle pumps, while riding in the car. This helps reduce the risks of blood clots.
    • Take pain medicines before your first ride home.

    When getting out of the car:

    • Turn your body as someone helps you lift your legs out of the car.
    • Scoot and lean forward.
    • Standing on both legs, use your crutches or walker to help you stand up.

    Ask your health care provider when you can drive. You may need to wait up to 4 weeks after surgery. Do not drive until your provider says it is OK.

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    Will I Need To Use Crutches Or Other Assistive Devices After Knee Replacement Surgery

    Yes. And depending on the type of surgery youve had , youll probably need to use an assistive device for at least a few weeks during recovery.

    Assistive devices make certain activities like walking, using the restroom and dressing easier to do. They also help keep you safe.

    The types of assistive devices youll need after knee replacement surgery depend on your condition, but common devices include:

    • Walking aids like crutches, canes or walkers
    • Shoehorns and sock aids
    • Raised toilet seat

    The good news is some assistive devices may be covered by your insurance, so be sure to check with your insurance provider before you go in for surgery.

    Prepare Meals And Snacks

    Meal preparation can be daunting, especially for people who have had recent surgery on their knees. Typically people who have had recent knee surgery are using crutches or a walker, so trying to prepare a meal can be very challenging. Maneuvering around the kitchen is hard enough when having to use an ambulatory aid, and impossible if trying to carry cooking materials and food. Having pre-prepared meals that are easy to store and reheat can be a tremendous help.

    Caregivers can also plan to be around at mealtime. This is a particularly helpful time for people who have had recent surgery to have someone around. Simply getting a meal from the kitchen to the dining space can be a challenge, so having an extra set of hands at that time, in particular, is helpful.

    The best meals can be easily stored and quickly and easily prepared. In particular, having a few options that did not require any preparation or refrigeration can be particularly helpful. As stated, simply getting food from the kitchen to the dining area can be a major obstacle, and having some food available that does not require preparation in the kitchen can be helpful.

    Read Also: How To Pop Knee Back In Place

    Help With Medical Appointments

    Keeping a calendar can help you track the persons daily needs, and can also help you stay on top of their appointments.

    Missing an appointment may lead to setbacks or other complications, so its important to take note of their follow-up visits and plan accordingly. This includes transportation.

    The person youre caring for will likely be unable to drive for the first 4 to 6 weeks following surgery. This means they will need someone to drive them to their appointments.

    If any issues arise between appointments, dont hesitate to reach out to the healthcare team.

    This may include questions about:

    • medications or unusual reactions to them
    • elevated temperature

    No 6 Hiking Poles Or A Cane

    Resting/Sleeping in Bed after Total Knee Replacement: The Dos &  Don

    Whether youre a young guy/gal or a senior like me, the early days after surgery will take a toll on you. Your balance will be slightly off as you manage the pain from TKR. The pain will gradually subside and your body should quickly adjust to its new knee. Even months after recovery youll want some support and thats why hiking poles are a must-have item after knee replacement.

    Even patients in top shape shouldnt be ashamed of using a little help. A cane in the weeks following surgery will help take some pressure off the knee although it will put more pressure on your arm.

    Hiking sticks can also be used while you are around the house or exercising outside. Unlike canes, hiking poles come in a pair. Feel free to only use 1 or both depending on the situation.

    > > read my review on the best walking poles

    While walking/hiking they can help with shock absorption. Just as important, they might help you avoid a fall and further injury to your knee or hip.

    Ive used hiking poles for a number of years. They are lightweight so my arms dont fatigue when using them and I notice my knee is less sore the following day after Ive used them.

    Recommended Reading: Mri Of Knee With Torn Meniscus

    No 7 A Fresh Pair Of Shoes

    If youre like me, maybe you have a pair of shoes that you love. Maybe its the look, or maybe their comfortable so you keep them clean and looking like new.

    Most people dont realize it but shoes wear down over time. We tend to get comfortable with our shoes plus they can be a considerable investment .

    During your rehabilitation, you should be walking and doing physical therapy. Dont take my word for it. According to Livestrong, running shoes should be replaced every 300-500 miles. Of course you wont be running but even if you walk, youll reach 300 miles in no time at all.

    Related: Best Walking and Running Shoes After TKR

    For your TKR recovery choose a pair of shoes that are for exercise these can be worn around the house as well. We like a good pair of Nike Air Max or Hoka Bondi 7 because of the extra air and cushion in the heel.

    Controlling Pain After Knee Replacement

    People considering same-day knee replacement surgery may have fear and anxiety regarding uncontrolled pain after surgery. Surgeons have learned to employ multiple pain-reducing therapies simultaneously or in sequence to help reduce post-surgical pain.

    See Managing the Pain of Joint Replacement

    Multi-modal pain controlUsing more than one type of pain treatment is called multi-modal pain control, or multi-modal pain management. Multi-modal pain control has been shown to reduce or eliminate the need for opioids and to minimize side effects related to treating pain. Multi-modal pain control is especially helpful during the first few days after knee replacement, when pain is most intense and unpredictable.

    See What Pain Management Approach Works Best?

    Examples of multi-modal pain control techniques include:

    Taking medications on a consistent schedule can help reduce pain after knee replacement. This fact is particularly important the first week after knee replacement.

    Preventing nauseaNausea is a common side effect of surgical anesthesia and pain medications. Anti-nausea medications can control most cases of nausea. These medications are typically given via IV during and immediately after surgery. In addition, anti-nausea pills will be prescribed to have available at home if needed. Staying well-hydrated can help as well.

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    What Should I Expect After My Total Hip Or Total Knee Replacement

    NOTE: The following is a general guide to care following your procedure. Your healthcare provider may have somewhat different instructions for you. Please follow those.

    After total knee or total hip replacement surgery you can expect gradual improvement over the coming months. You should gradually expect less pain, stiffness and swelling, and a more independent lifestyle. Returning to work depends on how quickly you heal and how demanding your job may be on a new joint.

    After you are discharged from the hospital or rehabilitation facility, there will be a few weeks before you return for a follow-up visit with your surgeon. This period of time is critical in your rehabilitation and you may require outpatient therapy services for positive long-term results from your surgery.

    In general, patients do very well after discharge. However, its important that you contact the surgeons office if any of these occur:

    • You have increasing pain in the operative site.
    • There is new or increased redness or warmth since discharge.
    • There is new or increased drainage from your incision.
    • The operative site is increasingly swollen.
    • Your calf becomes swollen, tender, warm or reddened.
    • You have a temperature above 101 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 24 hours.
    • For total knee replacement, your ability to flex has decreased or remains the same as when you were discharged from the hospital.

    Healing Process Of Severe Wounds

    Going Home After Partial Knee Replacement

    The pain decreases as the ulcer heals and the bandage compresses the surrounding tissue. It may feel intense at first for severely injured areas, such as a leg wound that has sliced through the muscle. A compression bandage should reduce the pain as the wound heals and the compression bandage tightens.

    Read Also: How Long To Recover From Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

    What Should I Expect During The First Six Weeks After Discharge

    During the first six weeks after discharge, you should be making progress week by week. Most patients are eager to report their progress at follow-up visits and are ready to move to the next level in their recovery. Most patients can accomplish the following during the first six weeks after total joint replacement:

    • Walk without help on a level surface with the use of walker, crutches or cane as appropriate.
    • Climb stairs as tolerated.
    • Get in and out of bed without help.
    • Get in and out of a chair or car without help.
    • Shower using a tub bench once staples are removed as long as there are no issues with the incision.
    • Resume your activities of daily living including cooking, light chores, walking and going outside the home. You should certainly be awake and moving around most of the day.
    • Some patients return to work before the first follow-up visit. This is approved on an individual basis and should be discussed with your surgeon.

    Icing and elevation

    After a joint replacement, swelling is expected. Swelling can cause increased pain and limit your range of motion, so taking steps to reduce the swelling is important. Continue using ice packs or some form of cold therapy to help reduce swelling.

    Sexual activity after joint replacement

    Many people worry about resuming sexual activity after a joint replacement.

    Resuming your diet

    If youre not eating well after surgery, contact your healthcare provider about nutritional supplements.

    What Does Knee Replacement Surgery Involve

    The team at Tri-State Orthopaedics provide the latest advancements in treating chronic knee problems. When conservative options arent enough, your provider may recommend knee replacement surgery. Also called arthroplasty, this procedure involves replacing the structure of the damaged knee joint with metal and plastic parts to restore the normal function of the knee and relieve chronic pain.

    Knee replacement is an incredibly common and successful procedure. Over 90% of people who have knee replacement experience significant improvement in pain and their ability to get around. For most people, knee replacement restores a good quality of life, giving back independence and allowing you to engage in activities you used to enjoy. However, recovery is often a long road. If youre scheduled for or considering knee surgery, here are some helpful dos and donts in your path to recovery.

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