After the performing surgeons and surgical team, caregivers can be considered the backbone of a successful surgery. Making sure their loved ones, family member(s) or friends are well-prepped before surgery, which includes following dietary and lifestyle orders, as well as thoughtfully cared for post-surgery.
Pre-Surgery, caregivers must make sure that they are aware of what the patient should be eating/not eating, such as high sugary foods as well as what they should be not doing such as smoking or partaking in any unauthorized or illegal drug use. All of which and more, can disqualify the patient from surgery during pre-op when tests are administered to ensure there is nothing troubling or abnormal in the patient prior to their surgery.
Post-Surgery is a crucial time. The patient the caregiver is caring for should be monitored closely, with the caregiver keeping in mind certain signs to watch out for as indicated by the physician, based on the procedure type, such as abnormal swelling.
The following are questions you as the caregiver should ask:
• How long will the patient require your care? If it is for more than 3 days around the clock, it is recommended you ask a close family friend to come over for a couple hours each day so you can get some respite and be at your best mentally and physically for the patient. This will also be helpful in planning out their meals and possibly meal-prepping the best food/recommended before their surgery so food is prepared and ready to go for any meal.
• What are the post-surgery required medications? Make sure you are aware of the effects of each medication so it is not surprising. Also, make sure you're aware of the effects of post-anesthesia.
• Read up on and be aware of pain medication addiction to know the signs of too much use. Make sure you have a clear understanding post-surgery of your patient's pain levels. Make sure you know the allotted and safe amount to administer.
• Make sure you are aware of the basic details such as when the patient must be at the outpatient facility. While a surgery may take 3 to 4 hours most times the patient is required to be at the facility a couple or sometimes a few hours beforehand. Be sure to understand the best type of vehicle you should have for transporting and/or wheeling your loved from the facility back to home or wherever the patient will be recovering under your care. For instance, if you have a SUV or high elevated truck you will likely need to ask a friend to borrow their sedan or perhaps rent a suitable vehicle for the next few days.
Depending on the type and extent of your loved one's surgery, you may want to consider hiring a professional/licensed caregiver. This should also be considered if there will be physical challenges or detriments in helping the patient, such as if the patient is much larger than yourself and they will need assistance getting up to go to the restroom.
We hope this helps you in organizing your questions and making sure you are armed with everything you need to know as a caregiver prior and post-surgery!