BC Foot and Ankle

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Before Surgery

Preparing for your Surgery and Hospital Stay

There are many things you can do ahead of time to get ready for your surgery and hospital stay. Preparing at least 1 to 2 months before your surgery date will ensure all goes smoothly.


PreAdmission Clinic

The PreAdmission Clinic is where you go for a single visit to the hospital to make sure you are ready for surgery.

The hospital calls you to book your PreAdmission Clinic visit. Usually, the appointment is a few weeks before your surgery. Your appointment might be the day before your surgery if you are coming from out of town.

During the visit, a nurse reviews your health history, talks to you about how to manage your regular medicine before surgery, the anesthetic you will get during surgery, and how to get ready the night before surgery. You also learn how long you will be in hospital after the surgery. After minor surgery, you might go home the same day as your surgery. After other kinds of surgery, you might stay in the hospital for a couple of days.

A physiotherapist may ask you to practice using a walker and/or crutches, without putting any weight on the foot that is receiving surgery. You might also practice going up and down stairs if this is something you will need to be able to do at home.


Get Your Equipment Ready

There are many tools and pieces of equipment that can help make daily life easier and help to keep you safe while your foot or ankle heals. You will work with your surgeon, physiotherapist, or occupational therapist to decide what equipment is best for you.

You will need some or all of the items listed below for about three (3) months after your surgery:

  • Walker with no wheels or 2 wheels on the front (these wheels need to be fixed in place – for example: only roll backwards and forwards, not swivel)
  • Crutches
  • Kneel-on walker or ‘roll-about’
  • Wheelchair with an elevated leg rest (a leg rest that lifts up so that your knee is almost straight) for your operated leg
  • Raised toilet seat with or without handles
  • Commode or portable toilet (if your wheelchair or walker does not fit into your bathroom)
  • Long-handled bath sponge
  • Long-handled reacher (a tool for picking things up)
  • Shower bag for cast boot (or you can use a garbage bag)
  • Bath board or tub transfer bench if you have a bathtub
  • Non-slip mat inside and outside the bathtub or shower
  • Hand-held shower hose
  • Shower chair or shower stool if you have a walk-in shower
  • Grab-bars for bath tub or shower
  • A walker boot

Where can I get this equipment?

You can rent or buy all of these items from medical supply stores and pharmacies.

Many of these items can also be borrowed for free for up to 3 months from the Red Cross Health Equipment Loan Program. You will need to have a member of your health care team sign a loan form to borrow equipment from the Red Cross. You will receive this form during your PreAdmission Clinic visit.

Remember

Get your equipment before you come to the hospital for your surgery.

Walker Boot

You might need to wear a walker boot after surgery. A walker boot is a hard plastic boot with foam or air cushions inside. It works like a cast to hold your foot in place while it heals. It can be taken off when needed, as long as your surgeon says this is safe.

If you need a walker boot, your surgeon will give you a prescription for it. Bring the boot to the hospital with you when you come for surgery. Your surgeon will tell you when you need to start wearing the walker boot. The surgeon might want you to put the walker boot on before you go home from hospital. If you have a cast after your surgery, bring the walker boot with you to your first follow-up visit after surgery.

You can buy walker boots at the Foot and Ankle Clinic at St. Paul’s Hospital or at medical supply stores and pharmacies. If you have an extended medical plan, this might cover part of the cost for the walker boot. The BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) does not pay for the cost of a walker boot.

If you cannot afford a walker boot, talk to your surgeon. Sometimes, the Foot and Ankle Clinic has walker boots that you can use. You might be able to borrow a walker boot from the Red Cross.


Get Your Home Ready

You will need to make some changes in your home to keep you safe and make it easier to get around your home after surgery. Click here for a home preparedness checklist to help you determine what changes you may need to make to your home.


Arrange for Help at Home

You will need help at home after surgery because you will not be able to do your normal activities as easily. If you live with family or friends, ask them to help you when they are home. If you live alone, ask friends or family to come over to help, or you can pay for home-making services.

Think about the following things that you might need help with:

  • Someone to look after your home while you are in the hospital. This might include watering plants, caring for pets, and picking up mail.
  • Someone to drive you to and from the hospital. Make sure the car has enough space to allow you to sit comfortably and safely.
  • Help with your daily activities when you get home. This might include bathing, dressing, making meals, errands, grocery shopping, and house cleaning.

If you already have homemaking services, arrange to have these increased the first few weeks after surgery.

Meal Catering

A number of companies provide ready-to-eat or frozen meals. Look in White Pages under Meals on Wheels or Yellow Pages under Caterer for companies’ menus and prices.

Home Help

Look in Yellow Pages under Home Support Services or Home Making for a trained support worker to assist you with your personal care and/or cleaning.

Look in Yellow Pages under House Cleaning for agencies that provide house cleaning services only.