Caring for An Older Adult After Heart Bypass Surgery

Homecare in Vaughan Ca: Caring For Your Senior After Bypass Surgery

Homecare in Vaughan Ca: Caring For Your Senior After Bypass Surgery

When an artery that feeds the heart becomes blocked or damaged, sometimes doctors perform what is called a heart bypass surgery.  The purpose of the surgery is to make a new way for blood and oxygen to get to the heart.  Doctors do this by using a vein from one leg to create a vein graft.   If an older adult family member has recently been told they will need heart bypass surgery, you may be wondering what life will be like after the surgery and how family caregivers can help with recovery.

What the Older Adult Can Expect to Experience…

Recovery from bypass surgery takes between four and six weeks.  During that time, the older adult is likely to experience a range of emotions.  They may have mood swings or feel depressed.


In addition to the emotional aspects of recovery, there are several physical things they can expect, such as:

-Lack of appetite during the first two to four weeks.
-Difficulty sleeping.
-Pain around the chest incision.
-Constipation caused by medications.
-Swelling in the leg from which the vein was taken.
-Itchy, numb, and tingly sensations around the chest and leg incisions that may last up to six months.
-Feeling tired or having little energy.
-Shortness of breath.
-Weak arms for about a month.

How Family Caregivers Can Help

When the older adult is discharged from the hospital, they should have someone to stay with them for the first week or two.  Even after that time, there are many things family caregivers can do to help during the recovery period when the physical abilities of the person are limited.


Some of the things caregivers can help with are:


The older adult will not be able to clean the house during recovery because it’s too physically demanding. However, having a clean house can make the space more calming and inviting.  In addition, keeping the house clean can reduce the risks for infection.


The person will be unable to leave the house alone for some time after the surgery, so they will need someone to do their grocery shopping for them.


Cooking may be too taxing as well, so family caregivers can prepare heart-healthy meals for them.


Daily walks are essential for recovery.  However, someone should accompany the older adult on walks to ensure safety.  They may also benefit from encouragement during walks.


Driving is prohibited for between four and six weeks while the sternum heals.  If the person were to make a sudden movement or get into an accident while driving before the bone is healed, the consequences could be serious. Family caregivers can help by driving the person to and from medical appointments.  And, once the person feels up to going out for other reasons, they might appreciate rides to visit friends, to get to church, or to go on short outings.


The older adult may be prescribed several medications.  If so, family caregivers can assist with organizing medications into pill organizers and remind the person to take medications according to the schedule.

There’s a lot for family caregivers to do while the older adult in their life is recovering from heart bypass surgery.  If you need more help than family members and friends can provide, hiring an elderly care provider through an agency can help.  Elderly care providers can be scheduled to spend as much time with the older adult as needed.  They can do many of the things that family caregivers can do, including cooking, cleaning, driving, and walking with the older adult.


If you or an aging loved-one are considering homecare in Vaughan, Ca, contact the caring professionals at Staff Relief Health Care 24/7 at (905)-709-1767.


About Susan Di Michele

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