The road to recovery from surgery can be a long and potentially bumpy one. Having access to professional post-surgery nursing care at home can make a world of difference, as it significantly impacts patients’ ability to heal and return to their daily lives.
Here are a few examples of how nursing care positively impacts a patient’s recovery time post-surgery.
Nursing care leads to better patient outcomes
Nursing care can impact a patient’s post-surgery recovery time in a number of ways.
But perhaps most importantly, it leads to better health outcomes for patients.
Nurses’ involvement is critical to how patients feel about their surgery. They support patients during the preoperative stage of surgery by preparing patients for what’s to come and walking them through any fears or worries they may have about the procedure. They also need to be aware of the surgery timeline to plan the most suitable treatment for their patient from the beginning. After surgery, they focus on reducing potential complications, encouraging patients’ independence, and making sure patients have the information they need for a fast and safe recovery.
When a hospital in Germany increased their proportion of professional nurses by 10% there was an 11% decrease in patient deaths after general surgery. While nurses in a hospital with a higher proportion of professional nurses rated the quality of care in their hospital higher, reported better patient safety, and experienced lower rates of burnout symptoms.
On the other hand, when there are not enough highly-educated nurses working in a hospital, patient mortality and post-surgery complications increase.
Nursing care in home can reduce post-surgery anxiety
When it comes to surgical procedures, there are a lot of unknowns. From how the procedure went, to establishing new routines, to how long recovery will take—questions about post-surgery care are bound to arise and it’s normal for patients to experience feelings of anxiety after going under the knife.
Having a qualified nurse by your side can be the difference between anxiety and peace of mind. Nurses are there to answer all of your health-related questions and can deliver accurate, unbiased information with empathy and compassion.
Another benefit of skilled nursing care is the knowledge nurses bring to the table. During recovery, you may experience a variety of symptoms related to the surgical procedure. This can include: pain, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, or postoperative cognitive dysfunction. A skilled nurse can diagnose these symptoms, and let you know whether your symptoms are simply part of the healing process, or something more threatening that you need to be concerned about.
In-home nursing care supports your independence
Studies show that staying in bed for long periods of time can be damaging to older patients’ already-fragile health. Not only can extended bed rest impact between 16 and 65% of older people’s ability to walk independently—it can also speed up their loss of physical function, increase deconditioning, and limit their ability to live independently.
Those aged 80 and older can lose up to 10% of their muscle mass, after only 10 days in a hospital bed. However, a recent study found that patients who receive outpatient care at home spend about half as much time on their backs as those who remain in hospital, allowing them to live a healthier lifestyle as they recover.
Being cared for by a skilled nurse in the comfort of your own home has the added benefit of helping you stay independent. At home, you have access to all of your belongings, you can continue to live as you normally would—as long as you don’t overexert yourself—plus, you can invite friends or family to visit without having to stick to restrictive visiting hours.
Your qualified nurse or nursing assistant can also oversee your medical needs and make sure that your recovery is on track.
Home nursing care can extend to everyday tasks at home
Depending on where you live and what services are available to you, your post-surgery care plan may include daily to weekly visits from an expert caregiver or nurse. This can be helpful for people who have reduced mobility after surgery.
Home care nurses make sure you feel comfortable in your environment and you have everything you need. Through expertise and kindness, nurses can alleviate any extra stress related to your post-surgery recovery. Nurses can give you medication reminders and support shaving, oral care, bathing, or any other personal hygiene tasks you may have difficulty with while in recovery. Not to mention, more complex medical treatments like drug therapy and wound care.
Light movement after surgery can be beneficial, but push it too hard and before you know it you’ve strained a muscle or compromised your recovery. Home nurses and caregivers can assist you with physical chores like laundry, cooking, meal preparation, and any other small household tasks. Do you like going to aquarobics or meeting a friend for a walk? Your caregiver can provide transportation to and from your favorite activities.
Nursing care at home can be more cost-effective
Hospital beds can be pricey in places like the United States. Recent data suggests that in the U.S. hospital stays work out to more than $384.5 billion per year, with the average stay amounting to over $10,700. So is it more cost-effective to leave the hospital as soon as you can and recover at home after a medical operation?
It seems that way. A 2018 study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine showed that costs relating to healthcare decreased by 52% when acutely ill patients were cared for at home instead of from a hospital bed. Unlike patients who stay in hospital and need around-the-clock care, home care costs are low due to lower costs of labour and fewer lab visits from specialists.
Other big benefits of private home nursing care are the personalization and control it offers. As a patient, you can work with your healthcare team to choose a care plan that suits you best. From the number of nurse visits and how long they stay, to choosing the nurse that best matches your personality and healthcare needs, home care nursing helps patients feel empowered in their decision-making.