Post-Surgery Care At Home: 15 Ways To Boost Recovery After Surgery

Recovering at home after a surgery? Here are 15 post-surgery care tips for a quicker and fuller recovery at home post-operation.

by Lorraine Bunag, R.N.

Proper post-surgery care is crucial in ensuring that you’ll get back to your feet the soonest possible time after an operation. It also reduces the risk of experiencing complications that may worsen your situation and increase the need for medicine or hospitalisation. 

In this article, we’ll talk about 15 things you can do to recover quickly from your operation:

Work Closely With Your Doctor

The first and most important after-surgery tip is to work closely with your doctor. 

No one knows about your condition better than your primary physician and the medical team handling your case, so following their orders is a must.

You might feel that some of their recommendations are insignificant or trivial, but when they order little things, like “no full baths” and “only do deep breathing exercises,” know that they have your best interests in mind. 

If you don’t quite understand why the doctor has given you specific orders, don’t hesitate to ask them about it. 

Every individual is different, and your loved one has care needs that are unique. Engaging a caregiver for your loved one not only encourages interaction; it also helps build a strong emotional support for your loved one.

To give your loved one the best care he/she deserves, we provide a free care consultation for you and your loved one, to ensure that they get a Care Professional that best suits their needs.

Observe and Perform Proper Wound Care 

Another important thing to do while you’re recovering after surgery is to closely observe how the doctors or nurses clean and tend to your operation wound. 

Sure, you don’t have to worry about wound care while you’re in the hospital, and the healthcare team will most likely leave you with instructions before going home, but it doesn’t hurt to learn about it as soon as you can. 

Some of the most basic incision care tips include:

  • Do not scrub, rub, or treat your incision wound roughly in any way. 
  • Do not pick on the stitches or staples. 
  • Refraining from applying any product (lotion, cream, etc.) unless otherwise approved by the doctor. 
  • Protecting the wound from sunlight. 
  • Keeping the wound dry and clean. 

The earlier you learn about proper wound care, the better for when you’re back at home. Since you know about the basics, you’ll be able to apply the principles with little adjustment. 

Finally, don’t forget to protect your incision site at all costs. Not only should you avoid accidentally bumping it against hard surfaces, but you must also take note of your clothes. Avoid tight clothes that may restrict blood flow to the wound or rub against the incision site.

If you’re worried about not being able to do proper incision care, consider availing our wound care service

Make Your Home Recovery-Ready

This is best done before you have your surgery, but if that’s not possible, ask a friend or family member to help you make your home recovery-ready before you leave the hospital. 

Some of the things you can do to ensure that your recovery process goes as smoothly as possible are:

  • Restock your pantry and supplies.

    While you’re recovering, you’ll have little to no time (and energy) to shop for groceries or supplies, so try to restock before the operation. 

  • Organizing the items you need specifically for your recovery.

    Before going home, prepare your medicines and wound care kit. It will also help to have a thermometer and blood pressure device, so you can check for your vital signs. You might also need some gears to help you move, like a cane. 

  • Making your home as safe from accidents as possible.

    An accident, such as a fall, can ruin your post-surgery progress. Reduce the risk of accidents by clearing clutter around the house, adding night lights, placing non-skid mats, and sleeping in a room close to the bathroom. 

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Ask About and Watch Out For Warning Signs

While still in the hospital, and especially before you leave the facility, ask about the warning signs you need to watch out for. 

Typically, the warning signs that doctors tell you about involve spotting the onset of infection. Postoperative infection signs include:

  • Fever or high temperature
  • Unusual or excessive pain
  • The operation site feeling hot to touch
  • Redness in or around the wound
  • Swelling or hardening on the area surrounding the incision
  • A change in the size or odour of incision 
  • Green or yellow discharge from the wound
  • Excessive bleeding that soaks or seeps through the bandages

If you notice these signs, alert your doctor immediately and head to the nearest healthcare facility. 

Besides watching out for postoperative infection signs, ask your doctor, too, about other signs that indicate something is wrong. Some of these signs are:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Trouble waking up or feeling excessively tired
  • Inability to drink or eat
  • Inability to urinate 

Again, go to the hospital right away if you experience these warning signs. 

Reduce The Risk of Infection

Postoperative care doesn’t just include watching out for the signs of infection. You also need to be proactive in preventing them. 

To reduce the risk of infection, remember to keep your incision site clean at all times. Also, don’t forget to wash your hands before and after handling your wound. Finally, if the doctor prescribed you with antibiotics, take them as ordered. 

Take Your Medicines As Prescribed

Going home post-surgery means you need to take a couple of medicines to avoid complications and help you recover faster. At one glance, you may feel bombarded with drugs, but remember that they are beneficial for you. 

Case in point: taking pain medication is crucial for you to feel comfortable and have adequate rest. Likewise, the doctor may also give you antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection. 

Be Mindful Of Your Diet And Nutrition

Another important aspect of post-surgery care is a healthy and nutritious diet that promotes recovery

Your doctor will assign you with a diet appropriate to your condition and overall health status. For instance, if you’ve had gastrointestinal tract surgery, the doctor may first put you on a clear or full liquid diet before transitioning you to solid foods. 

Basically, a good postoperative diet includes whole grains, plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats. Still, you need to consider other factors, such as allergies, medications, and preferences. 

Hydrate yourself

Besides a healthy, balanced diet, proper hydration is also an essential part of post-surgery care. Water not only transports important nutrients, it also flushes out toxins from the body. You also need proper hydration to have the energy to recover. 

As your fluid needs depend on the type of your surgery and overall condition, ask your doctor for specific details of your hydration. 

Get Moving

Exercise is not something you immediately associate with post-surgery care, but it is one of the most important things you need to get into to regain strength and prevent complications. 

Of course, you should never jump into any strenuous physical activity too soon after an operation. Nevertheless, you must also listen to your doctor when they tell you about breathing exercises and how you can walk lightly for a couple of minutes every hour or so.

Breathing exercises help ease your mind and manage pain. Walking or ambulation, on the other hand, helps prevent complications like pneumonia and stroke-causing blood clots. Since light movement also improves blood flow, it helps heal your incision wound faster. Finally, the simple act of walking often keeps you active enough to reduce the risk of bed sores and constipation. 

Once you’re strong enough, you can consider doing other physical activities that do not pose a danger to your incision wound. 

Take a Leave of Absence at Work

Postoperative care requires you to rest. More than just getting adequate rest and sleep, it’s a great idea to take a leave of absence at work. 

You probably need to file for a couple of days of leave before your actual surgery, but at the same time, talk to your colleagues about how you might need to take it lightly and slowly upon your return. That way, they can make adjustments, so you won’t overdo it. 

Stop Smoking

According to the World Health Organization, smoking increases the risk of complications after an operation. That is because cigarettes delay healing time and interfere with your immune system. In fact, the nicotine in cigarettes can interfere with your body’s ability to create bone-forming cells, which causes smokers to often need more time to heal from fractures and broken bones.

Furthermore, when you smoke, you reduce your body’s ability to deliver essential nutrients needed for recovery. Additionally, smoking also heightens the possibility of developing an infection. 

Smoking cessation is a huge part of post-surgery care. If you have difficulty quitting, talk to your doctor about potential strategies or support groups that might help you. 

Ask for Help and Support

Another way to recover faster after surgery is to ask for support, even for little things. If possible, ask someone to drive you from one place to another (especially for your follow-up appointments), prepare meals for you, or keep your home clean and tidy.

Asking for help not only takes things off of your mind, giving you much-needed relaxation, but it also reduces the risk of you accidentally hurting yourself.

Take Care of Your Mental Health

The setbacks you experience after having an operation can take a toll on your mental health and increase your healing time. After all, feeling anxious or depressed can distract you from having a healthy diet and even interrupt your sleep and rest. 

For this reason, postoperative care also requires you to take care of your mental health. Consider doing things that relax your mind, such as listening to music, journaling, meditative walking, or even getting in touch with your friends and family. While you’re on leave from work, why not work on a hobby you enjoy? 

This will take your mind away from the worries and allow you to focus on your recovery. 

Attend Your Follow-Up Appointments

Do you want to recover faster after surgery? If so, don’t skip any of your follow-up appointments. 

Remember that your needs change with every day that passes in the recovery process. As days go by, the doctor may want to change your medicine, diet, or activity. Furthermore, attending your follow-up check-ups gives the doctor a chance to see if there are potential complications and allows them to act quickly.

Consider Home Care Services

Finally, if you want to recover as soon as possible after surgery, consider taking advantage of our post-operative home care service

We’ll get you in touch with Care Professionals who will help ease you into the activities of daily living (eating, bathing, getting dressed, etc.) and perform all the necessary medical monitoring and procedures you need.  

A post-surgery care service also ensures that you’re receiving individualized care which will hasten your recovery.

Homage provides caregiving services for your loved ones at every stage. Our trained care professionals are able to provide companionship, nursing care, night caregiving, home therapy and more, to keep your loved ones active and engaged. 

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  4. Normal diet within two postoperative days—Realistic or too ambitious? (2017, December 8). MDPI. Retrieved July 11, 2021, from
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  6. Why is ambulation important to recovery? (2018, May 24). OakBend Medical Center. Retrieved July 11, 2021, from
  7. Smoking greatly increases risk of complications after surgery. (2020, January 20). World Health Organization.
About the Writer
Lorraine Bunag, R.N.
Lorraine is a registered nurse who spends most of her time writing informative articles on health and wellness. At the end of the day, she relaxes by reading a book or watching documentaries about unsolved mysteries.
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