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Top Tips for Home Care After Hip Replacement Surgery

Written by Angelike Gaunt
 about the author
6 minute readLast updated March 7, 2023
Reviewed by Carol Bradley BursackCarol Bradley Bursack spent two decades as a primary caregiver to seven elders. She’s the author of Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories and a contributor to several other titles. Carol is a newspaper columnist, blogger, and writer. Learn more about her at mindingourelders.com.

Hip replacement surgery is one of the most common types of joint restoration surgeries. Many seniors choose to have the procedure done to improve mobility and decrease pain levels. Despite this being a routine surgery, there’s still plenty of work to do after bringing a loved one home from a hip replacement. From ensuring safety around the home to figuring out home care options, it can feel like a lot. Below are some helpful tips and aspects to consider for home care after hip replacement surgery.

Key Takeaways

  1. Following the doctor’s recommendations is the first step to a successful recovery from hip surgery. Physical therapy and light exercise are also vital to regaining mobility and strength.
  2. Home safety is an essential aspect of recovery. After any surgery that affects mobility, make sure to remove all fall hazards from commonly used areas of the home.
  3. Home care can be a helpful addition to any recovery process. Services may include help with activities of daily living, meal preparation, and skilled nursing care.
  4. Occupational therapists can help with completing everyday tasks. Patients may need to modify movements that cause pain or put stress on healing joints, like tying shoes or using the bathroom.

Home care preparations before surgery

There are a few steps to take before a scheduled hip replacement surgery to ensure your loved one’s recovery is a smooth process.

Prepare the home

Your loved one’s mobility will be more limited during recovery, so it’s essential to have their home set up for this. If they normally sleep in an upstairs bedroom, a sleeping area should be set up on a lower level so they can avoid climbing steps. Additionally, installing safety bars in the bathroom or other high-movement areas (such as near the bed) can help reduce the possibility of falls. In areas that may become wet, such as the kitchen or bathroom, place nonslip mats to avoid the potential of accidents. Finally, check that paths are clear of furniture, power cords, and any other fall hazards.

Arrange home care services

In-home care is a service that can provide relief for family caregivers and assurance that your loved one’s recovery will be smooth. Home care can include help with household chores, especially ones that should be avoided in recovery, as well as personal care tasks, such as bathing and toileting. Other in-home care services may include emotional support and companionship during the recovery process, transportation for errands and medical appointments, and meal preparation. Setting up these services ahead of time will help your loved one feel safe and comfortable when they return home after their procedure.

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Schedule post-surgery therapy appointments

Physical therapy provides many benefits to someone who has recently had an injury or undergone surgery. It can improve coordination and help restore normal movement in the affected area or limb, increase blood flow, and help with overall joint strengthening. Although many exercises can be done at home, for some, regular appointments along with light to moderate exercise are what help the joint to strengthen and heal fully.
Alongside physical therapy, occupational therapy is also a key part of post-surgery recovery. Occupational therapists help people learn adjustments to movements and processes that enable them to continue doing the things they need and want to do.
Meeting with an occupational therapist after the surgery will help your loved one modify how they perform activities of daily living (ADLs), such as getting out of bed, using the toilet, and more. Before the surgery, an occupational therapist may help create a custom plan that centers on the activities that are unique to each person, such as hobbies or work. Additionally, an occupational therapist can help recommend any equipment needed for making the home as safe and comfortable during recovery as possible.
Scheduling and taking a loved one to a variety of appointments might seem overwhelming. However, home health care services may offer a more streamlined solution. Home health agencies can provide physical therapy, occupational therapy, and skilled nursing care in your loved one’s home to support their recovery in a more comfortable and low-stress environment.

Home care tips after surgery

Once you make sure your loved one’s home is set up for a safe recovery, there are a few other important considerations. These include aspects like providing the normal comforts of home life as well as working to maintain physical health. Recovery from surgery often involves rethinking when and how a person moves, both to help the affected area heal and to avoid additional stress or injury. Don’t forget to consider what items might be good to have on hand to help them stay entertained while recovering. Board games, puzzles, movies, or a selection of books from the local library may all be good choices.

Promote light exercise

It may seem counterintuitive, but regular movement is key for a full recovery from hip replacement surgery. Your loved one will likely be given a list of prescribed exercises to do at home. Encouraging them to take short but frequent walks can be helpful in their recovery. Note that they may need to use a walker, cane, or other assistive device initially if they experience balance issues. Always ensure your loved one follows instructions provided by their doctor, physical therapist, and any other members of their health care team.

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Avoid unsafe movements

In addition to any modifications your loved one learns from their occupational therapist, there are a few normal movements that are restricted while recovering.
  • Avoid bending over, even to put on shoes or clothing. Assistive devices, such as a long-handled shoehorn or dressing stick, can be helpful, as can having a caregiver assist with dressing. This is especially true if your loved one must wear compression socks or stockings, as they can be more difficult to pull on. No-tie shoes can be a good solution for some issues, but, if possible, avoid slip-on shoes, which can be a fall hazard.
  • Your loved one shouldn’t cross or raise their legs while in a seated position. Remind them to lie flat on their back while resting in bed or sleeping so their legs don’t cross.
  • Bending at the hip and twisting at the waist should typically be avoided in the weeks after a hip replacement, which can complicate simple activities like using the restroom. A raised toilet seat can help with both sitting down on and standing up from the toilet. Additionally, keeping feet flat on the ground and sitting with a straight back can help relieve any strain on the hip joint.

Bring in support when needed

One of the most essential aspects of a successful and comfortable recovery is ensuring that a loved one has a support system in place. Bringing in home care may ease the burdens for your loved one and for yourself during their stressful recovery period. Having a home health aide or nurse visit regularly may also help ensure that recovery is going well and any pain or discomfort is successfully treated.

How long does it take to recover from hip replacement surgery?

As with any surgery, recovery times will vary based on the individual and their overall health and lifestyle. Generally, it will take anywhere from four to six weeks before someone will begin to feel stronger and pain-free. Full mobility may take longer to be restored, and it’s vital that physical therapy appointments, as well as daily exercise, are kept up during this time. That being said, it’s best to be cautious and avoid any activities that involve lifting heavy objects.

Taking next steps

While these are some general tips for home care after hip replacement surgery, every patient’s recovery path is unique. If your loved one is finding recovery difficult or stressful, it may be beneficial to talk to their doctor and consider additional sources of support. A Senior Care Advisor can recommend care options and connect you with providers that offer the assistance your loved one needs.


  1. National Library of Medicine. Physical Therapy.

Meet the Author
Angelike Gaunt

Angelike Gaunt is a content strategist at OurParents. She’s developed health content for consumers and medical professionals at major health care organizations, including Mayo Clinic, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the University of Kansas Health System. She’s passionate about developing accessible content to simplify complex health topics.

Edited byDanny Szlauderbach
Reviewed byCarol Bradley Bursack

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