Operation – the mere word gets just about anyone anxious. And that’s just thinking about the surgery room, with a lot more worrying to come when you start thinking about post-operative recovery and care. The medical profession is thus, not just about making a diagnosis and delivering treatment, but involves a lot of patient education regarding operations and the recovery process.
The risk of infection is taken into account for the maintenance of the operating room, and when surgeons ensure stitches, staples or skin glue is used well to seal incisions made and dressed with extra precaution.
While doctors and health care professions attempt to minimise infections, it is also part of the patient’s responsibility to ensure hygiene and care during the recovery process. Post-operative hygiene and attention are required not only while the patient is in the hospital, but after they return home.
Infection prevention starts from understanding the stitches the doctor uses to seal the wound. There are two types of stitches: absorbable and non-absorbable. While absorbable stitches do not require removal after a period of time, non-absorbable stitches have to be manually removed by a nurse or doctor. Non-absorbable stitches are known to cause itching. To avoid unconsciously scratching your wound due to the itch, make sure you dress the wound well and your nails are short. You can take the initiative to wear gloves to sleep while your wound is healing.
If you think that all stitches are removed at the same time, you’re mistaken. Depending on the size of the wound, stitches will remain in the patient for a little as ten days and as long as three weeks. Additionally, it depends on what type of stitch is being used. Wound dressings must also be changed regularly with the help of a trained person in the beginning. It allows the patient to learn the proper way to changing the dressings.
Cleanliness is important when it comes to wound dressing because infections by pathogens can severely hinder recovery. Patients should be extra careful not to tamper with the stitches and the dressings while resisting the urge to scratch.
Usually, after surgery, you’ll be prescribed with a handful of medicines which almost always includes painkillers and antibiotics. Make sure you take the total dose of antibiotics and other medication prescribed by the doctor. Even if you feel you’re well on your way to a smooth recovery, it is essential that you don’t skip medication.
In cases which you are immobile during your recovery, or you are someone who cares for a dependent such as a small child or elderly, you’ll want to make sure to have the doctor’s recommendation completely jotted down.
At home, take measures to ensure that the bed linens are clean, frequently changed, and the toilets are clean. Help the dependent (or in case the dependant is yourself, get a family member to help you), clean up on a daily basis. If they’re not able to take a bath, give them a sponge bath.
Help your recovering relative ensures post-operative hygiene to the extent of dental, hair, nail and skin care.
Simply speaking, post-operative health care requires effort both in part of the patient, their family as well as the medical staff. And these are the very principles being encouraged and practised at Apollo Hospitals, the largest group of private hospitals in India.