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Making life a step easier for you after surgery

28 September 2017

Orthopaedics Rehabilitation
Preparing for orthopaedic surgery, particularly for knee and hip surgery, includes considering what changes you can make around your home says Occupational Therapist Louise Slater.

When you first return from hospital, your joint that you had surgery on might still be a bit painful and you may have trouble getting around. Therefore, it is important to ensureyour home is safe and comfortable.

Here are some things to consider before your surgery.

The layout of your home:


  • Are there any steps to get into the house?
  • Could they be avoided or can you install a ramp?


  • Is your shower easily accessible?
  • Are there steps to get in or, is it over a bath?
  • Would you benefit from a handrail or shower chair?
  • Is your toilet too low?
  • You may need a frame that fits over your toilet as you will find it easier to get up from a higher seat.

Your furniture

  • Seating
  • Do you have a suitable armchair? The best seat height is the same height as the back of your knee.
  • Does it have sturdy armrests and a reasonably level seat?
  • How difficult is it for you to get out of currently?
  • Bed
  • Your bed should be easily accessible and of a comfortable height.
  • Do you need to raise it to make it easier to get into?

If you can see issues with your home layout or you think you may need some home equipment, please request an appointment with an occupational therapist. You can do this at your pre-admission interview.

Beyond the structure of your house, you can complete a few everyday tasks to prepare.

Household tasks

  • Consider cooking and freezing meals or arranging home delivery.
  • Stock the pantry/ fridge before admission.
  • Arrange for someone to help with pet /garden care.
  • Attend to any home maintenance/ cleaning tasks before admission.
  • Move any furniture that may cause an obstacle for you when walking with crutches or a walking frame.
Any surgical procedure carries risks. Make sure you discuss all possible risks with an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
St John of God Health Care
Louise Slater - Occupational Therapist

Louise Slater is an occupational therapist at St John of God Frankston Rehabilitation Hospital and has more than 30 years’ experience, working in hospital and community settings.