Post surgery care at home: 12 ways to boost recovery after surgery

Post surgery care at home: 12 ways to boost recovery after surgery
PHOTO: Unsplash

Proper post surgery care is crucial in ensuring that you’ll get back to your feet the soonest possible time after an operation. It also reduces the risk of experiencing complications that may worsen your situation and increase the need for medicine or hospitalization.

In this article, we’ll talk about 15 things you can do to quickly recover post operation:

Work closely with your doctor

The first and most important after surgery tip is to work closely with your doctor.

No one knows about your condition better than your primary physician and the medical team handling your case, so following their orders is A MUST.

You might feel that some of their recommendations are insignificant or trivial, but when they order little things, like “no full baths” and “only do deep breathing exercises,” know that they have your best interests in mind.

If you don’t quite understand why the doctor has given you specific orders, don’t hesitate to ask them about it.

Observe and perform proper wound care

Another important thing to do while you’re recovering after surgery is to closely observe how the doctors or nurses clean and tend to your operation wound.

Sure, you don’t have to worry about wound care while you’re in the hospital, and the healthcare team will most likely leave you with instructions before going home, but it doesn’t hurt to learn about it as soon as you can.

Some of the most basic incision care tips include:

  • Do not scrub, rub, or treat your incision wound roughly in any way.
  • Do not pick on the stitches or staples.
  • Refraining from applying any product (lotion, cream, etc.) unless otherwise approved by the doctor.
  • Protecting the wound from sunlight exposure.
  • Keeping the wound dry and clean.

The earlier you learn about proper wound care, the better for when you’re back at home. Since you know about the basics, you’ll be able to apply the principles with little adjustment.

Finally, don’t forget to protect your incision site at all costs. Not only should you avoid accidentally bumping it against hard surfaces, you must also take note of your clothes. Avoid tight clothes or one that’s too tight it restricts blood flow to the wound.

If you’re worried about not being able to do proper incision care, consider availing our wound care service .

Make your home recovery-ready

This tip is easier done before you have your surgery, but if that’s not possible, ask a friend or family member to help you make your home recovery-ready before you leave the hospital.

Some of the things you can do to hasten your recovery are:

  • Restock your pantry and supplies.

    While you’re recovering, you’ll have little to no time (and energy) to shop for groceries or supplies, so try to restock before the operation.

  • Organise the items you need specifically for your recovery.

    Before going home, prepare your medicines and wound care kit. It will also help to have a thermometer and blood pressure device, so you can check for your vital signs. You might also need some gears to help you move, like a cane.

  • Make your home as safe from accidents as possible.

    An accident can ruin your post surgery progress, so reduce the risk of accidents by clearing the clutter, adding night lights, placing non-skid mats, and sleeping in a room close to the bathroom.

Ask about and watch out for warning signs

While still in the hospital, and especially before you leave the facility, ask about the warning signs you need to watch out for.

Typically, the warning signs that doctors tell you about involve spotting the onset of infection. Postoperative infection signs include:

  • Fever or high temperature
  • Unusual or excessive pain
  • The operation site feeling hot to touch
  • Redness in or around the wound
  • Swelling or hardening on the area surrounding the incision
  • A change in the size or odor of incision
  • Green or yellow discharge from the wound
  • Excessive bleeding that soaks or seeps through the bandages

If you notice these signs, alert your doctor immediately and head to the nearest healthcare facility.

Besides watching out for postoperative infection signs, ask your doctor, too, about other signs that indicate something is wrong. Some of these signs are:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Trouble waking up of feeling excessively tired
  • Inability to drink or eat
  • Inability to urinate

Again, go to the hospital right away if you experience these warning signs.

Reduce the risk of infection

Postoperative care doesn’t just include watching out for the signs of infection, you also need to be proactive in preventing them.

To reduce the risk of infection, remember to keep your incision site clean at all times. Also, don’t forget to wash your hands before and after handling your wound. Finally, if the doctor prescribed you with antibiotics, take them as ordered.

Take your medicines as prescribed

Going home post surgery means you need to take a couple of medicines to avoid complications and help you recover faster. At one glance, you may feel bombarded with drugs, but remember that they are beneficial for you.

Case in point: taking pain medication is crucial for you to feel comfortable and have adequate rest. Likewise, the doctor may also give you antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection.

Do you need help with your medicines? Consider availing our Medicine Delivery Service . We can connect you with a doctor who’ll prescribe you with appropriate medications. Afterward, we’ll take care of the purchase and deliver your medicines to your home. This ensures that you’ll never run out of the prescription drugs your condition requires.

Be mindful of your diet and nutrition

Another important aspect of post surgery care is diet. Having a healthy, balanced diet gives you the nutrients your body needs to recover fully, at a faster rate.

Your doctor will assign you with a diet appropriate to your condition and overall health status. For instance, if you’ve had a gastrointestinal tract surgery, the doctor may first put you on a clear or full liquid diet before transitioning you to solid foods.

Basically, a good postoperative diet includes whole grains, plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats. Still, you need to consider other factors, such as allergies, medications, and preferences.

Learn more about the foods to eat and avoid after an operation here. You can also contact one of our doctors online to understand the appropriate diet for you at the moment.


Besides a healthy, balanced diet, proper hydration is also an essential part of after surgery care. Water not only transports important nutrients, it also flushes out toxins from the body. You also need proper hydration to have the energy to recover.

As your fluid needs depend on the type of your surgery and overall condition, ask your doctor for specific details of your hydration.

Get moving

Exercise is not something you immediately associate with post surgery care, but it is one of the most important things you need to get into to regain strength and prevent complications.

Of course, you SHOULD NEVER jump into any strenuous physical activity very soon after an operation, but you must also listen to your doctor when they tell you about breathing exercises and how you can walk lightly for a couple of minutes every hour or so.

Breathing exercises help ease your mind and manage pain. Walking  or ambulation, on the other hand, helps prevent complications like pneumonia and stroke-causing blood clots. Since it also improves blood flow, it helps heal your incision wound faster. Finally, the simple act of walking keeps you active enough to reduce the risk of bed sores and constipation.

Once you’re strong enough, you can consider doing other physical activities that do not pose a danger to your incision wound.

Take a leave of absence at work

Postoperative care requires you to rest. More than just getting adequate rest and sleep, it’s a great idea to take a leave of absence at work.

You probably need to file for a couple of days leave before your actual surgery, but at the same time, talk to your colleagues about how you might need to take it lightly and slowly upon your return. That way, they can make adjustments, so you won’t overdo it.

Stop smoking

According to the World Health Organisation, smoking increases the risk of complications after an operation. They also mentioned that cigarettes delay healing time and mess up the immune system.

Furthermore, when you smoke, you reduce your body’s ability to deliver essential nutrients needed for recovery. Additionally, smoking also heightens the possibility of developing an infection.

Smoking cessation is a huge part of post surgery care. If you have difficulty quitting, talk to your doctor about potential strategies or support groups that might help you.

Ask for support

Another way to recover faster after surgery is to ask for support, even on little things. If possible, ask someone to drive you from one place to another (especially for your follow-up appointments), prepare meals for you, or keep the clutter off your home.

Asking for help not only takes things off of your mind, giving you the much-needed relaxation; it also reduces the risk of you accidentally hurting yourself, which complicates things.

Take care of your mental health

The setbacks you experience after having an operation can take a toll on your mental health and increase your healing time. Come to think of it, feeling anxious or depressed can distract you from having a healthy diet, doing appropriate exercise, and even interrupt your sleep and rest.

For this reason, postoperative care also requires you to take care of your mental health. Consider doing things that relax your mind, such as listening to music, journaling, meditative walking, or even getting in touch with your friends and family. While you’re on leave from work, why not work on a hobby you enjoy?

This will take your mind away from the worries and allow you to focus on your recovery.

Attend to your follow-up appointments

Do you want to recover faster after surgery? If so, don’t skip any of your follow-up appointments.

Remember that each day you recover, your needs change. As days go by, the doctor may want to change your medicine, diet, or activity. Furthermore, attending to your follow-up check-ups gives the doctor a chance to see if any complication is on the rise, allowing for a quick intervention.

Consider home care services

Finally, if you want to recover as soon as possible after surgery, consider taking advantage of our postoperative home care service .

We’ll get you in touch with home care professionals who will help ease you into the activities of daily living (eating, bathing, getting dressed, etc.) and perform all the necessary medical monitoring and procedures you need.

A post surgery care service also ensures that you’re receiving individualized care which will hasten your recovery.

This article was first published in Homage.

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