Finally, the day has arrived – your surgery was a success and your doctors have given you the green light to go home. Have you properly prepared for your homecoming?

In a recent survey of people who had undergone joint surgery, more than 41 percent said they were well prepared for their at-home recovery needs – and were grateful for it. Those who weren’t prepared reported feelings of frustration and depression.

When you plan joint replacement, you not only have the luxury of time to prepare for the surgery, you also have time to prepare yourself and your home for recovery. Use the checklist below to help you prepare for your homecoming and the weeks of recovery that follow.

Refer to it now and check off each item as you prepare for discharge day. But keep in mind it’s only a guideline – it’s not possible to anticipate your every need.

Much of your preparation will depend on your surgery, the type of arthritis you have, which joints are affected, other health problems and how much help you have at home.

While making some arrangements after surgery will still be essential, taking the time to prepare for your discharge day, well before you check in to the hospital, will do wonders to help ease your transition after you check out.

Before you check in:

1. Consult an expert. Many doctor’s offices or hospitals employ discharge planners to help plan for your discharge day and beyond.  “I follow patients from the minute the doctor decides they need a joint replacement,” says Rosemary Weser, a discharge planner at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. Weser helps patients get ready for surgery, schedules the surgery and meets with them for a pre-op appointment, during which she helps them plan for their return home.

2. Prepare your home. Prepare your home for your return: grab bars in the bathroom, ramps to cover outside steps, electronic lifts to carry you up and down stairs. But if your goal is to simply recover from surgery, preparing your home can be simple and inexpensive. Some physical or occupational therapists will come to your home to recommend modifications. If your insurance doesn’t cover that service, here are some things you can do on your own:

  • Eliminate clutter. Clear the floors of throw rugs, electrical cords, kids’ toys, etc. Move furniture (or have a friend or family member do it) to make pathways wide enough to accommodate a walker.