It never hurts to be prepared, and it’s important for seniors to take this advice to heart when getting ready for surgery. One way to do this is with what’s referred to as prehabilitation, or “prehab.” Here’s how this approach to surgery prep can help older adults with the recovery process.
What Is Prehab?
Prehabilitation refers to steps an individual is encouraged to take prior to having surgery to reduce surgery risks and make the recovery process more efficient. The goal is to increase the odds of enjoying a productive recovery. While specific prehab recommendations can vary, such efforts typically involve:
• Eating healthier foods
• Practicing stress-reduction techniques
• Getting some form of regular exercise that’s appropriate and safe
• Quitting smoking (if applicable)
A professional caregiver can help your loved one get proper nutrition and exercise safely at home in preparation for surgery. Elderly 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.
How Well Does It Work for Older Adults?
A University of Michigan study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons involving pre-surgery “training” looked at more than 500 people with Medicare in Michigan. The prehab group was compared with more than a thousand people who had the same operations and didn’t do any prehabilitation. The prehab individuals benefited from:
• Shorter hospital stays
• An increased ability to go home directly after surgery
• Reduced costs*
*Medicare paid about $3,000 less for those in the prehab group.
Insurance payments related to post-hospital care were also lower for older adults in the prehab group. This included fewer expenses related to a need to temporarily stay in a skilled nursing facility or arrange home-based care.
If your loved one needs personalized assistance before or after surgery, a home caregiver can be a wonderful resource. In Portland, homecare service 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.
What Other Benefits Might Seniors Notice with Prehab?
Researchers contend prehabilitation has the potential to boost a senior’s wellbeing prior to surgery. It may also make it easier for an older body to withstand the added stress associated with surgery. In fact, researchers believe everyone should prepare this way for major surgery, likening the process to preparing for a 5K race. Previous research involving prehab suggests seniors may also enjoy lower rates of postoperative complications and the ability to return to normal functioning sooner.
How Can Seniors Take Advantage of Prehab Prior to Surgery?
The concept of prehab has been steadily gaining momentum over the past decade or so. Even so, researchers admit the broad implementation of prehabilitation outside a research setting remains unclear. Still, it’s possible for seniors preparing for major surgery to explore options with prehab prior to their scheduled procedures. More often than not, a surgeon will likely be receptive to the idea of an older adult wishing to prepare for surgery as much as possible. The American College of Surgeons recommends seniors achieve this goal by:
• Scheduling regular walks to increase circulation
• Doing deep-breathing exercises to reduce the risk of post-op pulmonary complications like pneumonia
• Packing a bag with familiar objects from home to ward off potential issues with post-op delirium
Seniors recovering at home after surgery often need help with the activities of daily living. If your senior loved one needs hourly or 24-hour care, Portland Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks. To hire a dedicated caregiver, call Home Care Assistance at (207) 835-4849 today.