My father has had total knee replacement surgery, and it isn’t as simple as go home, take it easy and do some exercises.

All sorts of household adjustments must be made for the total knee replacement patient; changes that even the most prepared person will not think of.

You’ve seen ads for total knee replacement surgery; these ads don’t show the hard parts, just the final product.

Total knee replacement surgery involves the surgeon cutting the kneecap down so that the titanium device fits onto the bone nicely, and to accomplish this, the surgeon must “rearrange” the positioning of surrounding soft tissue.

The result of knee replacement surgery is a three- or four-day hospital stay, most of it in bed. The inertia, in combination with the shuffling of the soft tissue, results in considerable pain and weakness.

The hospital stay includes therapy, which then must be continued at home. However, little things like using the toilet will be a bear for any knee replacement surgery patient.

The new knee will not be able to bend well. Hopping and balancing on the good leg is not an option because:

1) If a person’s knee was bad enough to require knee replacement surgery, the odds are pretty strong that the other knee is also degenerated, and thus too weak to hop around on.

2) Even if the other leg IS good enough to hop on, this is not advised because it will interfere with recovery. The person must use both legs as he normally would, so that the new knee is properly introduced to normal movement.

Items you need for house functioning

Walker, 4-pronged cane

Comfortable gloves to wear while using walker, since palm pressure on the device can irritate bare skin.

Toilet seat extension

Because the knee can’t bend much, the patient won’t be able to sink down far enough to sit on a regular toilet seat.

Furthermore, the deep position will make it impossible for the person to get back up into his walker (which he will be needing to move even a few feet).

Sturdy seat with handles on either side, that must be at least 20 inches off the floor

This seat should be in the bathroom to allow the patient to sit and do things such as remove/put on shoes/slippers, remove/put on socks, remove/put on clothes, and sit while showering.

A similar seat should be in the bedroom. From this seat, the patient grips the handles and rises high enough to then grip the walker and steady himself.

A bell or whistle

The patient will often need unexpected assistance and will have to signal for help, and hollering is not always a viable option.

Suppositories, laxatives and an enema device

These may be necessary because the anti-blood-clotting drugs can cause constipation. So will the inertia at the hospital.

Portable urinal

The patient may have uncontrollable urine leaking, due to catheterization at the hospital. So when the urge strikes, he can go in the handheld urinal, because by the time he shuffles to the nearest toilet, there may already be some leaking.

Food serving tray

The patient may want to spend a lot of time in the bedroom, so food will need to be taken to him.

Chair with arm rests

This is necessary for general lounging, and when the patient does exercises. The arm rests allow patient to get in and out of the chair.

Shoes or slippers that have rubber soles

These will minimize slipping on the bathroom floor.

Iron supplement

The patient will have iron deficiency due to the surgery.

Make sure no rugs or mats might obstruct path of patient’s walker. For the first several days upon returning home, a reasonably strong individual should be present to help lift patient if he can’t stand up into the walker; and to guard against possible slipping while patient makes it up and down a staircase.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.