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Four Steps to a Smooth Hip Replacement Recovery

Hip surgery, including hip replacement, is becoming more and more common in the United States. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the number of people who had hip replacement surgery increased significantly from 2000-2010. They also found that hospital stays are shorter and more young people are opting for the surgery.

If you’re considering hip replacement surgery, it’s important to plan for your recovery too. Here are four simple steps to help you get back on your feet.


Step 1: Understand Hospital Discharge

Before you even step foot into the hospital for hip replacement, it’s important to understand what you’ll need to do to be discharged after surgery. Depending on your health and surgery, doctors and therapists will likely require you do the following before you can successfully return home:

  • Get in and out of bed without assistance
  • Eat, drink and go to the bathroom by yourself
  • Be able to use a cane, walker or crutches to get around
  • Understand care instructions, including pain management
  • Be able to complete recommended home exercises


Step 2: Make a Plan for Hip Rehabilitation

Physical therapy is an important part of the hip replacement recovery. It helps strengthen and heal muscles. Talk with your doctor before surgery to better understand what you can expect from rehab. Post-surgery therapy varies, but may last up to 6 weeks or longer, depending on recovery. Consider asking:

  • How long is therapy expected to last?
  • Where will I go to receive therapy?
  • What should I expect from an inpatient rehab stay?
  • How long are sessions?
  • How long am I expected to do at-home exercises?


Step 3: Learn About Extended Hip Recovery Options

Some hip surgeries and recoveries require a bridge between the hospital and home, where care and rehabilitation services are extended. Talk with your doctor to understand if you may need additional support after hospital discharge. If you do expect to need rehabilitation support, begin asking for recommendations. You can even take a tour of suggested facilities.

At Heartland and ManorCare health care centers, our team can help you recover and get back home quickly and safely. In our MedBridge units within Heartland and ManorCare centers, we are focused on getting you home. Our experienced team of physicians, nurses, therapists and more work closely with you to develop a customized plan to help you meet your goals. Our approach has a demonstrated record of success, and we’re proud that our patients are the ones benefitting. Our MedBridge units meet specific standards, including:

  • 75 percent or better discharge rate into the community
  • A return-to-hospital rate of 18 percent or less
  • A customer satisfaction rating of 85 percent or better


Step 4: Get Your Home Ready

A safe home and a care plan can help ease the transition of coming home, and speed your recovery after hip surgery. Get your home ready before surgery:

  • Remove rugs or other small objects on the floor that might cause you to trip.
  • Rearrange furniture so you can easily get around with a cane, walker or crutches
  • Find a sturdy, comfortable chair that you can get in and out of easily. (Tip: A firm chair with a high back and seat is usually best after hip surgery.)
  • Place a basket and end table near your chair so items you need are within reach.
  • Have items like a long-handled grabber, shoe horn or sponge handy to make daily activities easier.
  • Consider installing a shower railing or purchasing a shower seat to make bathing safer.
  • Make a schedule of who will help care for you, particularly the first few days you are home and limited in activities.


Finally, be sure to accept help when offered. Friends, families and neighbors are usually  willing to help you during your hip replacement recovery. Take them up on offers to drive you to appointments, make meals or do daily chores like mow the lawn or do laundry.

If you’re interested in learning more about Heartland-ManorCare skilled nursing and rehabilitation services or our short term rehab care called MedBridge, find a center nearest you by visiting

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