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The Experience

A Caregiver's Guide: Body Changes

Like most major medical procedures, joint replacement surgery can leave the patient weakened. In addition, various medications may affect the patient’s general health and mood. As caregiver, it’s important to observe any physical or behavioral changes in the patient and act accordingly.

  • The patient’s appetite may be poor. Make sure she drinks
    plenty of fluids to keep from dehydration. In time, the
    appetite should return.
  • Joint replacement patients may have difficulty sleeping,
    which is normal. Do not let the patient sleep or nap too much during the day.
  • The patient's energy level will be decreased for the first month.
  • Pain medication that contains narcotics promotes constipation. Follow the surgeon's recommendations for using stool softeners or laxatives such as milk of magnesia if necessary.
  • Do not let patients lift heavy objects for the first three months of recovery.
  • Blood thinners may be given to help avoid blood clots in the patient’s legs. Always follow the surgeon’s recommendations regarding blood thinners.
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