Tips on caring for parent after ankle surgery (fracture)?

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Has anyone here had some experience caring for a loved one after an ankle fracture and surgery to fix the break? This will be done on an outpatient basis, so we will be caring for her at our home for the 6 week recovery period (possibly longer). Any tips on medical supplies, etc to make this as seamless as possible? I.e., grip for getting out of bed; shower seat; what type of wheelchair? She has tried a walker a few days into the fracture and that isn't going well, so we're looking into wheelchairs and the knee roller. Thanks in advance for any input!

Answers 1 to 10 of 17
What does her physical therapist advise? Is she allowed to bear weight on the fractured side yet? I wouldn't think that a walker would be advisable until then.

This is not a venture for amateurs. Please get professional advice!

I assume she is eligible for doctor  PT. Take advantage of it.
How old is your mom? Does she have other health issues?
My MIL had a fractured ankle and was given a ‘boot’ to wear to support her ankle and make walking easier. She had dementia and didn’t wear the boot as instructed but her ankle seemed to heal fine in spite of that. I’m sure it depends on the severity of the injury and health status of the injured as to how soon it will heal. 
 Usually elevation is necessary so a comfortable chair allowing the foot to be supported is helpful. Ask the dr to order physical therapy.  Ask about ice and heat and bathing. Sometimes a large plastic bag is helpful to keep the foot dry when bathing. If she is on Medicare you could also ask the doctor for home health to help with her bath, do wound care and check vitals. Pain medication can constipate so watch out for that. She might need miralax or similar product. She will need to manage the pain in order to do the therapy. 
Also when did she have her last bone density test? It’s good to know if this is something you will need to expect to reoccur due to osteoporosis. Let us know how it goes. 
The knee roller! An awesome device.

I am wondering why no rehab for this person? There is a lot involved here. As Barb stated above their care will depend on the weight bearing status, etc.

Don’t leave the hospital before asking all of these questions. Make sure you have orders for out patient PT (if not home care first, which would be advantageous as the therapists can teach everyone in the home how to care for the patient).

Read all the discharge paperwork throughly before signing anything. Make sure the DC nurse explains the instructions.

This can be complicated but as you say it will be done out patient I am thinking it isn’t huge reconstructive surgery.

Good luck!
Thank you - she will be non weight bearing for 6 weeks. She is 76, in good mental health and otherwise fairly healthy. It is broken in three different places, so this is not a simple surgery - I don't understand why it's outpatient, frankly.

Right now as we await surgery, we are helping her go to the bathroom. First tried a walker, which didn't work (as the previous poster indicates), now we transfer her to a chair and push her to the toilet, sort of a make shift wheel chair. A friend of hers suggested a transfer wheelchair - this looks like it could be hard to get her from bed to wheel chair, but am I mistaken?

Also what about bed grips that fits between the mattress and box spring - do those help?

She is skeptical about the knee roller - can someone tell me more about this?

Does Medicare really provide home health care after outpatient surgery?
Um, who is managing her care?

Was she taken to ER when she first broke her ankle? What was the ER's doc's recommendation for care at home while she is awaiting surgery?

Is her primary care physician involved in any way? Have you asked her/him about scripting home care?

Why is the patient dubious about the knee roller? Is she doubtful that she can operate it?
I'm wondering why no rehab after this surgery, also?

So if the person did NOT have a relative willing to be their personal care attendant after the surgery (as Noviceatthis is going to be), then what happens to the person? Wouldn't they be an "unsafe discharge" to their home if they lived alone? Or because it's outpatient surgery, the "unsafe discharge" issue doesn't exist, as that is only applicable to a hospitalization?

Medicare's home health care isn't that extensive. My mother had her aortic valve replaced three years ago (at age 88). She had the newer TAVR (not open-heart). She got a nurse (LPN) who came in every few days at first and OT and PT. The rest of the time she was on her own (she did quite well; I had to stay with her for the first two days only).

So I don't understand what happens to people who don't have free in-home (relatives) support. Is it up to them to hire caregivers? (And what if they can't afford that?)
Yes, ER right when she slipped on the stairs. If it hadn't been Christmas, we wouldn't have been with her to rush to her aid. (She is normally a very active/fit/young 76 year old, so it's shocking to see her become more or less immobile.) . You can't have surgery on a broken ankle until the swelling goes down, per the ER doc and the orthopedic surgeon. They are doing it sooner than usual because we were able to get the swelling down. She's doing really well, considering.

I have no idea why this is outpatient surgery, but that's the reality. So has anyone had a situation in which Medicare covers home health after outpatient procedures? Even if it's not extensive, any help would be welcome...I plan to ask and then am prepared to look for some help (private pay) if necessary. Even though we are taking her in, I will need a break every once in a while.

I would ask the ortho if a knee scooter could be useful NOW! It would allow her to get around without so much assistance.
elderparenthelp.com/medicare-cover-cost-home-care-hospitalization

I would be in touch with her primary care physician TODAY about these issues, what can be scripted. The hospital where she is going to have the surgery should have a social worker on staff who can help you navigate this.
Why don't you sign her up for private pay at a rehab center/SNF? They will have the appropriate medical care there on site, and you and your spouse can take turns sitting with her and helping during the day. If she needs something during the night, the staff can help her.

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