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Staying on your feet after orthopaedic surgery

Our Occupational Therapist Louise Slater shares her top three tips to reducing your risk of falling after orthopaedic surgery.

After your surgery your risk of falling is increased due to reduced mobility, effects of the anaesthetic, strong pain medication and unfamiliar surroundings.

But you can reduce that risk of falling in hospital by following these three simple steps.

St John of God Health Care reduce your falls risk

1. Keep things within reach

When sitting, standing or laying down, ensure everything you need such as your water jug, remotes and especially your call bell are within easy reach.

2. Pace yourself

Always take your time when changing position, standing up or walking. If you feel faint or dizzy, stop and wait for a nurse.

3. Ask for assistance

When getting up or walking around (especially the first time after surgery), ask for help, even if you do not think you need to.

If you do fall, do not try to pick yourself up, ask a nurse to help you while you are in hospital.

After a fall, your doctor may wish to do an assessment to ensure there is a minimal risk of it happening again.

Remember, after surgery you may need a bit more help:

  • Bring any mobility aids such as crutches/walking stick, walking frame or wheel chair that you may use with you, when you come to hospital.
  • Do not move around without your mobility aid unless instructed to do so by your doctor or physiotherapist.
  • When walking, ensure you wear non- slip footwear at all times.

Once you leave hospital

You may be referred to follow-up services to help you maintain your independence once you leave hospital. We recommend that you stay with a family member or friend for the first few days after leaving hospital just so someone is on hand in case you need help.

About the author

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