7 Ways to Help Someone After Surgery

  • Be considerate. Talk with the person you're caring for about how they would like you to help. Some people may want someone with them every step of the way. But others may want to go to appointments alone, or to ask the doctor questions privately. Be sure to know and respect their preferences.

  • Be present. Offer to go to appointments when you can. And offer to help prepare questions to ask the doctor. It helps to write down the answers so you can remember them later.

  • Be knowledgeable. Help the person you're caring for follow any special instructions or restrictions for after the surgery. These might include instructions about things like incision care, bathing, rehab exercises, and activity levels.

  • Be smart about medicines. Offer to help with medicines. Follow all medicine instructions. If there are a lot of medicines, get a pill box to organize them. Offer to help set reminders for when they should be taken. And if you know what side effects the medicines could have, you can prepare for them.

  • Be safe. If the person you're caring for has trouble moving after surgery, keep floors clear of things that might trip them. If they will be immobile for some of their recovery, learn how to safely help them change positions so they're comfortable.

  • Know when to call the doctor. The care team at the hospital will give you details on what to watch for during recovery and when you should call.

  • Take care of yourself. Let the person you're caring for do as much as they can safely do on their own. Get enough rest, ask for help, and take breaks for activities you enjoy. If you are struggling, talk to the hospital's social worker. They can connect you with resources.