Recovering From Spine Surgery: The Caretaker’s Role
When you make the decision to undergo spine surgery, planning ahead is an important part of recovering from spine surgery. Part of that planning involves making sure you have enough support in the days following your surgery. One or more caretakers, depending on your needs and the length of your expected recovery, will put your mind at ease and allow you to focus on getting well. And that’s essentially the caretaker’s role: letting you relax and heal, knowing that everything else is under control.
Arrange for a Caretaker Right Away
Your spine surgery recovery begins the day of your procedure. So have someone available that day for assistance, such as family member, a good friend, or a paid professional. Whether you are undergoing an outpatient procedure or receiving inpatient care, you’ll need someone as soon as you’re released to help get you home, organized, and comfortable.
Although it is likely that on the first day home you will require the most assistance, a caretaker’s duties continue until you’re well enough to fend for yourself. Your caretaker(s) will be that friendly presence that you can count on right from your first day home.
Choosing the Right Caretaker for the Job
When selecting a caretaker, the main thing to remember is that a caretaker needs to focus on your “care.” It helps if your caretaker knows what to expect during your recovery, from medical issues that might arise to your preference for movies, books or games. So share information from your surgeon and spell out your wishes regarding what you’ll want as you recover.
If your doctor wants you up and moving following your surgery, your caretaker can assist with this. A good caretaker can devise a schedule that includes appropriate exercise and meals, managing your pain medication, and arranging fun downtime. Recovery from spine surgery is a serious matter, though, so follow your surgeon’s instructions closely.
Recovering from Spine Surgery Takes Time
Measure your recovery in weeks or months, not days. Every day brings you closer to a complete recovery, but only if you do the work — such as the prescribed exercises to gain strength and heal fully. Armed with a schedule, your caretaker(s) can make sure you eat right, exercise regularly, get your meds on time and have enough distractions to help you through the days. Until you gain enough strength and flexibility to manage for yourself, your caretaker(s) can assist with everyday activities, such as:
- Helping you in and out of bed
- Keeping your incision clean
- Getting to the bathroom
- Bathing and grooming
- Getting dressed
- Fixing your meals and cleaning up
- Running errands and grocery shopping
- Monitoring your medications
- Providing company
- Taking care of your pets
- Making sure you don’t overexert yourself
- Keeping you positive and focused
You will find that having a caretaker you can rely on when will be a huge asset as you recover from spine surgery. Don’t forget to thank them for all the support they will provide you as you focus on healing.
If you are considering spine surgery, look no further than Pacific Spine Specialists. Board certified surgeon, Dr. Keenen, is knowledgeable, qualified, and comes highly recommended. Read our Commonly Asked Questions to learn more about Pacific Spine Specialists or schedule a complimentary MRI review by calling 503-885-9391.