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Preparation for Surgery

Packing Tips for Yourself and Your Loved One

Preparing and packing for hip replacement surgery involves more than preparing the patient. Read the information below to learn how you can help the patient and get yourself ready as well.

For the Hospital
While in the hospital, patients are typically not up to long conversations. You will have an opportunity to turn the waiting time into productive personal time:

  • Bring something to read
  • Write something
  • Get some work done (organize files, pay bills, or catch up on household paperwork, for example)
  • Enjoy your hobbies
    • One caveat: Avoid bringing craft items with multiple or messy parts or that requires glue or other adhesives
  • Consider bringing a laptop computer, but check with the hospital first on its policy on electronic devices
  • Bring along a pillow, a small blanket, and a bag with toiletries and underwear
  • Pack a plastic zipper-type bag with a toothbrush, toothpaste, a razor, soap, and any special toiletries you may need
    • Wear comfortable shoes and pack nonskid slippers and a pair of socks

Pack to Take Care of Your Health
Don't forget your medication. Make sure that in the week prior to your surgery you fill or refill your medications and place them with the items to pack for the hospital.

  • Take your eyeglasses and/or a case and solution for contact lenses
  • Pack nonperishable snacks

Gather the Following Documents and Place Them in an Envelope or Folder for Easy Transport:

  • For both you and the patient, bring a listing of all medications, nutritional supplements, allergies and health conditions. Include a list of other physicians being seen and the phone numbers for the doctors' offices.
  • Legal documents
    If you and the patient have secured a Durable Power of Attorney, bring a copy along. If your loved one has a Living Will, bring a copy of this along too. Bring identification for yourself, and keep your loved one's identification with you.
  • Insurance information
    Pack insurance and prescription cards and contact names and numbers, for your loved one and for yourself, if different.
  • Printed material from the surgeon
    Bring along all the paperwork related to the surgery.
  • A list of phone numbers and a pre-paid phone card for long distance calls
    Cell phone usage is often forbidden inside hospitals because of conflicts with hospital monitoring equipment. Check with the hospital for their policy on cell phones before check-in.

The hospital is not the place for some things. Thefts take place in even the most secure places. Leave your valuables at home. You will need some cash for meals and possibly for parking, so do take along enough cash to cover expenses.

For Home
If you are temporarily moving in with the patient after joint replacement surgery, you'll need to pack sufficient clothing and personal supplies for the expected length of your stay. Be sure to pack the essentials, and remember that you'll be temporarily in charge of the laundry and the shopping. You can pick up additional supplies at the grocery store as needed, and if you pack washable clothing, you'll be one cycle away from clean clothes anytime.

Make a Checklist
Create a list of items to pack, and check off the items on the list as you pack. A checklist can be very helpful for caregivers who cannot easily return home to pick up forgotten items.

Next: Communication Tips

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