Posted by Heart Hugger on Mar 9, 2021 8:34:04 AM
When a loved one has had heart surgery, it can be a frightening time for both the patient and for you. There are a lot of things that your loved one will simply not be able to do for a while. There are also many types of support your loved one will need to get through the heart surgery recovery period. It's important to be there for your loved one so that this time goes smoothly.
Here are specific ways your loved one can use your help post-surgery.
Assisting with Showers
After the surgery, the patient will be able to shower but should not take baths. Though you won't be needed in the shower, it's important to stay close by for the first few times they take one. Your loved one can become dizzy, so it's important to have you nearby for support if needed. After those first few showers, they should be able to shower without having you close by.
Watching for Signs of Fatigue
Your loved one might be afraid to engage in much physical activity after heart surgery, or they might be determined to push themselves each day. Both of these are common attitudes, but you need to make sure that they aren't doing too much or too little. If they do too much, there will be signs of fatigue that you can watch for, including:
- Shortness of breath
Driving for Them
When you're caring for patient needs, driving can be a big part of it. Depending on the surgery itself, your loved one may be restricted from driving for as long as six weeks. That makes it necessary for you to be there to provide rides for doctor's appointments and other important errands.
In the car, they should sit in the backseat or ride in the passenger seat after moving the seat all the way back and putting a pillow on the chest to keep the seat belt from irritating it. If the doctor's office is far away, you may need to stop occasionally so that they can walk around a bit before resuming the ride.
Providing Emotional Support
There is an emotional recovery period just as there is a physical one. It's common to see depression after heart surgery, and your loved one will need you for emotional support. It can help to talk about their feelings, including his fears and frustrations. Encouraging your loved one and letting them know you are there for both good and bad days can make a big difference in recovery.
Cooking and Cleaning
Your loved one may want to jump back into a normal schedule, but that will take time. Much of the cooking and cleaning can be done by you so that your loved one doesn't get too fatigued. One of the biggest things you can do to help is to prepare and cook meals. Make sure that he follows a hospital-approved diet that includes balanced meals that include heart-healthy ingredients.
Learn About Sternum Support
Another way that you can help with heart surgery recovery is to make sure your loved one has a Heart Hugger sternum support device to make the recovery period more comfortable.