Ask the Experts: After Major Surgery, What Can I Do to Help My Partner Recover?
It can take weeks to recover from surgery. Sometimes it takes months. After surgery, it is of great value to avoid problems that slow down recovery such as excess bleeding, infection or injury. One of the best things you can do is help your partner follow their after-surgery instructions.
You may be able to help:
Make sure prescribed medicines are taken correctly and on time
Prepare healthy meals
Keep your loved one hydrated
Help with daily chores like laundry or house cleaning
Ensure the incision is clean
Look for signs of infection (fever, redness around incisions, yellow discharge)
Make phone calls to the doctor or insurance company (when needed)
Help your loved one walk or stay moving (when the doctor says it’s okay)
If you notice an infection, you can help manage it with guidance from your surgery team. Gently wash the area with soap and water, and air dry. You can pat the area dry with a clean towel if it’s not too painful. Avoid hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol or iodine. Also, don’t soak or scrub the area. When it’s clean, you can apply a fresh dressing. Always check in with your partner to make sure they’re not in pain.
The main thing to remember is that recovery takes time. You can help your partner pass time. You can offer fun distractions like a movie or podcast. Remind your loved one why they needed the surgery. With time, things will return to normal.
Of course, call your doctor if problems or questions arise. They are there to help you both. You are not alone. Ask for support if things get difficult for you or your loved one.
Dr. Kyle A. Richards, a urologist at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, focuses on urologic oncology, with a special focus on bladder cancer and continent urinary diversions.
Read the latest issue of Urology Health extra, the Urology Care Foundations patient-focused magazine.
Your Browser is Not Supported
This web site has been optimized for user experience and security, therefore Internet Explorer(IE) is not a recommended browser.Please use the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari(MacOS). Thank you.