• Elevate seats and beds. If you’ve had hip replacement, you’ll have restrictions on how much you can bend your new joint until the soft tissues around it heal, says Alejandro Gonzalez Della Valle, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon at New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery. If your bed is low, have someone place blocks under the legs to raise it.
  • Make living convenient. Consider what you’ll need when you return home and place items where you can access them easily – pots, pans and dinner plates on the kitchen counter; the TV remote next to your cozy chair. Stock your pantry and freezer before you leave the hospital. Prepare meals ahead and freeze. If your mail is delivered to an outdoor mailbox, contact your post office to request delivery directly to your doorstep.
  • Set up sleeping arrangements. If your bedroom is on the second floor, set up a temporary one downstairs. If that’s not possible, limit your trips upstairs – once at bedtime, then back down in the morning – advises Frank R. Kolisek, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon at OrthoIndy, an orthopaedic practice based in Indianapolis. If you discover you need something from upstairs, unless it’s an emergency, wait until someone else can get it for you.
  • Get the bathroom ready. If you’re having hip replacement, an elevated toilet seat is a must. Lisa Lein, a physical therapist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital, recommends an adjustable commode that can be placed over your regular toilet seat. If your shower has doors, removing them and replacing them temporarily with a curtain will make it easier to get in and out. Other musts: A shower seat and hand-held shower head. You won’t feel like standing while you shower, says Lein, but you won’t be able to sit in the tub for a while either. 

3. Order assistive devices and other supplies. Although doctors recommend waiting until after your surgery to find out exactly what you’ll need, there are some devices you can count on being necessities. Be sure to check with your discharge planner as to what devices the hospital will provide for you to take home, and what your insurance will cover. Here are some devices experts recommend:.

  • TED hose. These are special tight-fitting stockings that prevent blood clots from forming in the legs after a joint replacement. You’ll need to put them on every morning when you get up and take them off each night before you go to bed, says Dr. Della Valle. You can purchase them from medical supply stores.
  • Ice packs. Ice packs will help ease pain and inflammation of the incision site.  Have them ready before you leave the hospital. You can purchase ice packs, use bags of frozen peas or make a squishy ice pack by freezing three parts water to one part rubbing alcohol in a freezer bag.
  • Proper attire. Although you won’t be dressing to go to a party, you won’t want to hang out in your pajamas either. Consider loose clothing that would be easy to get on and off. Monica Blake bought nice workout outfits to wear when she did her physical therapy. “It made me feel like I was in some kind of athletic training program,” she says.