If you are getting ready for a total hip or total knee replacement, you might want to assess your social support network. A new study from the University of Bristol suggests social support plays a crucial role in total hip or total knee replacement recovery.
Total joint replacement is one of the most common surgeries in the United States. Although most total hip and total knee replacement surgeries are successful, between 10 and 30 percent of patients experience long-term pain or long-term mobility challenges during recovery. Chronic pain and social isolation can cause feelings of loneliness and depression.
Friendships Aid in Total Joint Replacement Recovery
Vikki Wylde, Ph.D., of the University of Bristol, analyzed the effects of social support on total joint replacement. She and her colleagues examined more than 50 cohort studies and found strong social connections and friendships can help a recovering patient to:
- Cope with stress
- Reduce loneliness
- Receive psychological support
- Gather resources to facilitate recovery
- Gain confidence to resume normal activities
Dr. Wylde and her colleagues suggest total joint replacement patients seek group-based physical therapy and educational sessions during the recovery period. Group rehabilitation increases social interaction and could improve recovery outcomes. Wylde also advises patients to share information about surgery and recovery with spouses and family members so they can provide necessary encouragement and support.
Assess Your Social Network
Are you considering a total hip or total knee replacement? Perhaps it is time to reassess your social network. Instead of relying solely on virtual support through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, ask a close-knit group of trusted family members and friends to visit you in person and assist you through the recovery process. Friends and loved ones will likely be happy to provide support, but might just need you to take the initiative and ask them for help.
Create a Wish List for Total Joint Replacement Recovery
Several weeks before your surgery, create a wish list for family and friends. On the list include specific tasks, services or gifts your loved ones can provide to encourage and help you throughout your recovery process. Your requests might include:
- Visits to your home (for local friends)
- FaceTime calls (for out-of-town friends and family)
- Encouraging cards and emails
- A Meal Train
- Gift cards for take-out and delivery restaurants
- Flower delivery
- Grocery delivery
- Care packages
- Board games, movies and puzzles (through Amazon)
Give your family and friends the opportunity to help you. They will likely appreciate your guidance on how to best support you so you have a healthy and rapid recovery.
Talk to your doctor about more ways you can lean on your social network during total joint replacement recovery. Call today to make an appointment.