Getting Ready

Getting your home ready

Preparing your home for recovery is a necessary step prior to having orthopedic surgery. Taking the time now will help minimize issues later and make you and your coach feel prepared. It is important to make sure to:

  • Remove any rugs, cords, or other obstacles that could cause you to fall. Remember you will be using a walker after surgery.
  • Make sure you have solid handrails if you have stairs in your home.
  • Install grab bars in your bathroom, if necessary.
  • Create your zone: A chair with arms, a table with necessities like your telephone, water, snacks, and a place to set medications, remote controls, magazines or books, and a good light.
  • Arrange the furniture so you can safely walk around with the width of your walker.
  • Have a plan for who can help care for your pets as you recover.
  • Grocery shop; stock-up on the items you use frequently, and consider pre-freezing meals.
  • Have all of your usual medications and the ones you need for this surgery available and ready.
  • Make sure you have a thermometer in case you need to check your temperature after surgery.

Getting your body ready

Taking good care of your body is a necessary step prior to having joint replacement surgery. If there are unnecessary risks, your surgery may need to be canceled or postponed. Taking care of yourself now will help minimize issues later and shorten recovery time.

  • Stay hydrated. It is good to drink at least six 8-ounce glasses of fluid each day. This can be water, sports drinks, and juices. Avoid ca­ffeinated beverages, as this can cause you to be dehydrated.
  • Eat healthy meals and snacks. If you are diabetic, focus on eating meals that keep your blood sugars stable and within normal limits.
  • Constipation can be an issue before surgery and may become an issue afterwards. Focus on drinking fluids, eating a high fiber diet, and using stool softeners as needed.
  • Stop smoking. Nicotine from cigarettes, cigars, or chewing tobacco can interfere with your ability to heal after surgery. Work with your primary care provider to work on quitting prior to surgery.
  • Visit your dentist at least one month prior to surgery. Make sure you don’t have any active infections or issues that need to be addressed prior to surgery. If you are having dental problems, you may need to postpone or cancel your surgery.
  • Avoid cuts, rashes, or scratches from pets. If there is a risk for infection, you may need to cancel or postpone your surgery.


After you are discharged from the hospital, your coach should be prepared to support your recovery, particularly during the week after surgery. It is important that your coach comes with you to all of your appointments and has a good understanding of what you will need after surgery.

Do NOT plan on going to a skilled nursing facility or transitional care for your recovery. In order for insurance to authorize a stay in these facilities, it must be a medical necessity. Not having support care at home is NOT considered a medical necessity. In addition, there are often no beds in these facilities.  

One week before Surgery


  • Stop taking all anti-inflammatory medications for seven days before surgery. These may include prescribed NSAIDS (mobic, celebrex, voltaren, etc.) or over-the-counter medications (ibuprofen, Advil, Aleve, naproxen, etc.).
  • Stop taking all vitamins and herbal medications for seven days prior to surgery. These can interfere with anesthesia and some can thin your blood.
  • If you are on blood thinners, i.e. aspirin, Coumadin (warfarin), Plavix (clopidogrel), Lovenox (enoxaparin), Pradaxa, E‑ ent (prasugrel), Brilinata (Ticagrelor), Aggrenox (aspirin, extended-release dipyridamole), Xarelto (rivaroxaban) or Eliquis (apixaban), then your primary care provider will direct you when to stop these medications prior to surgery. It is important that these medications are stopped under the direction of your primary care provider.

The night before surgery

  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight (unless instructed otherwise by the pre-surgery nurse).
  • Limit alcohol or tobacco products for 48 hours before surgery.
  • Take medications if the pre-surgery nurse instructed you to take anything the night before surgery or on the day of surgery.
  • Set your alarm and get a good night’s rest.
  • Get your bag packed and ready:
    • Bring your surgery guide.
    • Wear comfortable clothes to and from surgery.
    • Bring glasses, contacts, hearing aids, and denture containers.
    • Bring your walker.
    • Do NOT bring valuables or jewelry to the hospital.
    • DO bring co-pay or co-insurance if required on the day of service.