Recovering from vascular surgery can take weeks, and it is highly recommended that patients are supported by family members and friends throughout this process.
Most bypass surgery patients spend their first few days in the hospital, where they can be monitored carefully for any major complications. But after the first two days, most patients are sent home to heal in the privacy of their homes.
If you would like to support one of your loved ones through this trying process, we’ve broken down all the things that you need to know to do so. Including insights on what kind of tasks the patient shouldn’t participate in, health & lifestyle changes that you should encourage for their long-term recovery, and the kinds of mental and emotional support you might be expected to give.
Immediate Recovery Support
For immediate recovery after bypass surgery, you will need to support your loved one through the physical limitations that come after open-heart surgery. It is recommended that you stay with them for the duration of this particular recovery period, as a lot of it will involve helping them with their daily tasks. Such as:
- Eating: One of the most important things that your loved one will need your support with is shopping and preparing the food that they need. Also, more likely than not, their diet will need an overhaul so that they can manage the conditions that made it necessary to get bypass surgery in the first place. So, you will need to make sure that you are encouraging them through this process.
- Medication: Your loved one would have been prescribed the medication that they need to manage their condition and the aftereffects of bypass surgery. This is another aspect of their recovery that you can support them in as well. You’ll have to make sure that they are taking their medications on time, until a time where they can do so themselves more easily.
- Manual Labor/Driving: For a while, your loved one will probably not be able to properly attend to their homes or do anything strenuous (like cleaning or driving). Just like with cooking, this task will fall to you. Unless, of course, you hire a service that can do the cleaning for you.
- Exercise: Much like with their new diet, your loved one will have probably also been told by their doctor to make changes to their exercise habits. This won’t happen immediately, but, at some point, they would no doubt appreciate your support through daily walks or jogging sessions to make sure that their condition is managed appropriately.
There are, of course, other things that you will need to keep in mind during this stage. Which, more often than not, takes an average of 4 – 6 weeks. However, the tasks and responsibilities mentioned above are the most important ones.
After your loved one has healed enough to manage their day-to-day activities on their own, all that’s left is to provide them with the necessary emotional support to get them through the next few months.
Some patients suffer from mild-to-severe depression that can last for weeks (with the average recovery expectancy date at six months). This is long after their wounds have healed, and the pain has gone away. It is at this point where your loved one might need your support the most.
They will also need your encouragement while they make the necessary adjustments to their health habits. Whether it be encouraging them to eat healthier, joining them for exercises, or making sure that they are sticking to their doctor appointments so that their recovery can be monitored more closely by a medical professional.
At this stage of recovery, what your loved one needs is not necessarily physical support. But mental support. They need to know that you’re there, and you need to make sure to encourage healthy behaviors that will allow them to support their own recovery from this point on.
Taking care of your loved one after a surgical procedure is tough work. It’s physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging. It’s a stressful experience. Remember this if you decide to do it all by yourself. And, make sure, that if you do, that you take care of your own well-being.