Plastic surgery recovery: Prepping your caregiver

Posted by Monarch Plastic Surgery

Jul 14, 2014 9:30:00 AM

caregiving-after-surgeryOne of the most important aspects of your plastic surgery journey is the recovery period. Many patients, however, don’t realize that your recovery period and preparations should actually begin before you have surgery. This includes lining up a responsible adult to assist you and act as your caregiver before and after surgery. Your caregiver may provide you with support in a number of ways, and it can’t be stressed enough how important this person may be to your plastic surgery recovery.

Recovery begins before surgery starts

Your plastic surgery recovery doesn’t start once you wake up from anesthesia, but rather it begins before your surgery as you make preparations for surgery day and your recovery. Early in the process, identify individuals that you trust and know so you can rely on them to provide you with great care and support after surgery. This should be a person you know is reliable, mature, and capable of assisting you even when you aren’t feeling your best. They should be a person that you would be willing to have see you bandaged, bruised, and swollen and someone that can handle the emotional ups and downs that come with surgery and recovery. Ask the person to be your caregiver, and explain what this will entail.

At the very least, you will need your caregiver to take you to and from your procedure and to stay with you for the remainder of the day once you are released and sometimes for the next few days. For more involved surgeries, they may need to stay with you for two or three days. The amount of assistance you will need will depend on your surgery and your individual situation. If you don’t have anyone available to assist you, consider hiring a home health nurse or aide — someone trained to care for patients after surgical procedures or who have special medical needs.

Prepare your caregiver for their responsibilities and your needs

Explain to your caregiver that you may have restrictions on your movement, such as no lifting of the arms after breast augmentation, and on activities such as carrying groceries, picking up children, or walking your dog. Although you may be able to prepare your own food, you may feel better resting in bed, getting up only to use the bathroom, stretch your legs, and take occasional walks. A few of the ways you caregiver may be able to help you include:

Preparing meals: Your caregiver can prepare meals for you and bring you easy-to-digest comfort foods during the first few days of your recovery. If you have a family, you might also find it helpful to have the caregiver prepare meals for the rest of your family as well.

Assisting with self-care: After surgery, you will likely be wearing compression bandages or post-surgical garments. You will also have restrictions on how you move, and may simply be too sore to want to move very much. Your caregiver can help you shower, get dressed, and take care of your drains and recording outputs.

Help with children and pets: Because you will be focusing on resting and healing after surgery, you may need assistance with child and pet care. Enlist a caregiver who is able to take care of your children’s needs and take care of your pets. This might include taking children to activities, feeding children, walking dogs, and so on.

Help with chores and errands: If you know that you will have errands or chores that need to be done during the initial stages of your recovery, a caregiver may be helpful with taking care of cleaning and laundry, going to the grocery store, and so on.

Your caregiver as a health monitor

Perhaps the most important thing your caregiver can do for you is to be a health monitor. All surgeries come with risks and you need to be aware of the risks of your particular surgery as well as signs of an emergency. Before surgery, ensure that your caregiver has access to your surgeon’s phone number and address to help you with your follow-up appointments, but also just in case of a complication.

Emotional support

Finally, your caregiver should be willing to simply hold your hand and be there for you. Some patients feel elated after surgery and are happy and joyful throughout their recovery. Others, however, feel a tide of varying emotions from happiness one moment to sadness the next. A range of emotions is perfectly normal and may be related to medications, anesthesia, or simply the body attempting to adjust to the effects of the surgery and recovery. Your caregiver should be able to support you no matter what your emotional state, whether that means laughing and smiling with you or holding your hand and offering tissues as you cry. It is normal to have intense emotions after surgery, but over time you should feel yourself return to your normal state.

If you have been considering plastic surgery and are ready to schedule a consultation to learn more about your procedure, call Monarch Plastic Surgery today at (913) 663-3838 or (816) 436-3262 to schedule an appointment with one of our surgeons. We look forward to meeting you and working with you throughout your plastic surgery journey.

Topics: Plastic surgery

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