Can “Prehab” Help Seniors Speed Post-Surgery Recovery?

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How Can Prehab Hasten Recovery Following Surgery in Des Moines, IA

Statistics indicate more than 15 million seniors undergo surgery each year. Depending on the type of surgery required, seniors often face long recovery periods. However, by participating in prehabilitation regimens prior to hospitalization, older adults can recover more quickly and experience fewer postoperative complications. Researchers in Michigan studied the effects of prehab by following 523 older adults with an average age of 70 who were scheduled for surgery and engaged in a surgery training program. The scientists compared the results with the experiences of 1,046 older individuals who didn’t take advantage of prehab therapy. The wide range of surgeries performed included abdominal and cardiovascular procedures. The group of seniors who participated in prehab programs spent an average of one less day in the hospital compared to the control group. Two-thirds of those who underwent training were able to leave the hospital immediately, while only 57 percent of people in the control group were discharged early. The prehab seniors saved $3,200 in Medicare hospitalization costs, $625 in costs for postoperative skilled care, and $121 in expenses for in-home care.

Exercise Regimens

Part of the prehab process involves getting seniors into better physical shape. Therapists create strengthening programs designed to accommodate the ability of each individual. Some are advised to walk for 20 to 30 minutes up to five days a week. Therapists might also suggest light weight training activities. Seniors might perform sit-to-stand exercises. More frail older adults might practice going from a lying to a sitting position. A professional caregiver can help your loved one exercise safely at home in preparation for surgery. Home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.

Enhanced Breathing

Postoperative pneumonia is a common complication in seniors. To prevent the ailment from occurring, seniors can perform deep-breathing exercises before hospitalization. A simple over-the-counter spirometer measures exhalations so older adults can gauge their lung function. Slow inhalation and expiration exercises performed twice daily are also encouraged. The exercises are continued while seniors are hospitalized.

Dietary Supplementation

In addition to having an increased risk of infection, hospitalized seniors begin losing muscle mass within the first three days of being bedridden. By making appropriate dietary choices before admittance, aging adults can better prepare their bodies to hasten recovery. Dietitians recommend daily diets that include plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean meats. Vitamin C and protein aid in the healing process, and fiber can prevent constipation that occurs from being immobile and taking prescription pain relievers. If your loved one needs help preparing nutritious meals, a home caregiver can be a wonderful resource. In Des Moines, senior care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Stress Reduction

Preoperative stress increases the risk of post-op complications. Seniors may reduce stress levels by ensuring all their questions are answered before their procedures. Family members should consider being present during the discussions to support their loved ones and gain information. Older adults are less likely to feel uneasy when they know family members are there to help. Make sure financial and household needs are taken care of while your loved one remains hospitalized, and plan postoperative care in advance. Seniors recovering at home after surgery often need help with the activities of daily living. If you’re the primary caregiver for a senior loved one in Des Moines, respite care is available when you need time away from your important caregiving duties. At Home Care Assistance, our respite caregivers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help your loved one manage everyday tasks in the comfort of home while you have the chance to take a much-needed break. To learn more about our premier in-home care plans, call us at (515) 264-2438 today.


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