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How do I find a home healthcare worker for my mother after hip surgery?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
The usual hospital stay for a hip replacement is three days, and then it's off to home or rehab. The major risk after hip replacement surgery is an embolism (i.e., a clot) in a leg vein that migrates to the lungs, so the first thing you want to do is work with your mother's surgeon to determine the level of home healthcare and expertise she will need during those first days or weeks.

Next, work with an agency or service that provides trained, licensed home healthcare workers for your mom's specific needs. The business should be licensed, regulated, inspected, and/or certified. Find out how the business screens (do they perform criminal background checks?), qualifies, and trains employees, and ask for references, such as doctors, nurses, and customers. This is also the right time to ask about insurance and Medicare coverage.

When you interview potential home healthcare workers, be specific about what you'll expect them to do: bathroom protocol, bathing, medications, physical therapy/activity, cooking, answering the phone and the door, etc. The more clearly you define the job's responsibilities, the happier everyone will be.

Once a home healthcare worker passes your "this-seems-like-a-good-person" test and starts helping your mom, the first day or two is really an audition. He or she needs acceptance (your mom gets the thumbs up/thumbs down vote!) and you have to be satisfied with the care so you can all relax and mom can heal. If she was generally healthy before the surgery, she'll be over for dinner with the grandkids before you know it.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.