On return from surgery
It is expected you will return from theatre after a couple of hours. On return you will be attached to an intravenous drip and patient controlled analgesia (PCA) pain relief along with oxygen.
You will also have drains inserted at site of surgery which will remain for first 24 hours, your limb may feel numb and heavy if your anaesthetist has chosen to provide you with a nerve block.
You will also have impulse boots in-situ this is to assist with your circulation and help prevent development of blood clots.
Nurses will carry out regular observations until you have recovered from your operation. After a couple of hours you will be allowed to start drinking small amounts of water. A light diet may be offered if the nursing staff assess you as having recovered sufficiently from your anaesthetic.
You will remain in bed for the rest of the day and you will be helped to change position regularly.
Today your drains will be removed and a lighter dressing applied. Your PCA will be discontinued along with your oxygen therapy and suitable oral pain relief prescribed.
If you are tolerating drinks, your intravenous drip will also be taken down. You will be taken to the x - ray department on your bed and you will be assisted out of the bed by either the physiotherapist or a nurse.
You will be instructed regarding the type of exercises which will be expected from you and provided with regular ice pack to help reduce swelling which is to be expected. Once up and out of bed you will no longer need pulsation boots and will be fitted with elasticated stockings.
You will receive intravenous antibiotics as a precautionary measure in all joint replacement surgery. Once completed your cannula (the small plastic tube in your hand) will be removed.
Days two to three
Over the next couple of days your physiotherapy will continue and you will progress from Zimmer frame to elbow crutches and possibly walking sticks .It is hoped that you will achieve a 90 degree flexion in your new knee and be able to straighten your knee and lift your leg.
You will also be encouraged to start wearing comfortable, loose fitting clothes and your independence will start to be increased. Your elasticised stockings will be changed every other day and your legs will be washed. You will be supplied with 2 pairs of stockings, which can be washed.
You will be allowed to have a shower as your wound will be covered with a waterproof dressing and will remain undisturbed as far as possible to prevent contamination.
The occupational therapist may carry out a dressing and kitchen assessment with you assisting with the preparation for a safe discharge.
You may well be ready for or approaching discharge. You will be assessed by nursing, physiotherapy staff as to your safety. You may have to demonstrate safety on stairs and general mobility.
If your wound is clean and dry and you have reached the desired goals and your consultant is happy with your progress you will be allowed home. It is hoped that where possible you have transport home with the necessary support you require at home.
You will be provided with necessary pain relief and your own remaining medication to take home and a district nurse will be contacted to remove your clips 14 days following surgery. You will also be issued with a joint replacement card. The purpose of this is to remind you that during any dental or other surgery, your new joint must be protected with antibiotic cover to prevent possible infection.
Day of discharge
Everything should now be organised for your safe discharge. You may be asked to vacate your bed area early morning in order for the bed area to be cleaned for a new patient. You will be assisted into the dayroom where you will receive your breakfast with other patients going home that day. It is aimed that everything will be ready for you discharge at about 10-10.30am and providing you have your own transport there should not be any delay. Your wound will be redressed and final checks from the physiotherapist and occupational therapist will be made to ensure you are prepared.