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How to Prepare for Heart Valve Surgery

July 27th, 2018

By: Jack Nicol

There’s a lot to think about when you learn that an older family member needs heart valve surgery. Of course, your first thought is about whether they’ll be okay and able to return to their normal life. But, you’re probably also thinking about what to do before the surgery and how you can help the senior to prepare.

Before Surgery

There are several details the older adult will need to attend to before the date of surgery. Some of those things are:

  • Learn About Costs: To make recovery less stressful, it’s good to know what costs will be involved. Contact the senior’s insurance carrier or Medicare to find out what information they need. Sometimes insurance companies require procedures to be pre-certified to consider them coverable expenses. Find out how the surgery is covered and what out of pocket costs the senior can expect.
  • Pack a Bag: Prepare a bag of items the senior will need to recover comfortably in the hospital after surgery. Be sure to include comfortable pajamas with a stretchy waistband that will be easy to get on and off. Other items to bring are slippers, personal care items, a medication list, and a copy of their advance directive. Also, bring something for them to do in the hospital after surgery, like books or magazines to read.
  • Ask Questions: Talk to the doctor about when the older adult should stop eating on the day before the surgery. Also, ask if there are medications they should not take or if the timing of medications should be adjusted.

What to Expect After the Surgery

After the surgery, your aging relative is likely to need quite a bit of help for a while. Some of the things they may not be able to do for themselves are:

  • Sit up from a prone position.
  • Put their arms over their head, making things like dressing difficult.
  • Cook.
  • Lift anything heavy.
  • Bend down to do things like tie shoes.
  • Use stairs.
  • Vacuum.

Because they will need so much help, it’s important to plan for someone to be with them constantly during recovery. Constant care can be difficult for family caregivers who have other responsibilities, like a job and children. Fortunately, senior care providers can be scheduled to come at any time of the day or night. A senior care provider can spend just a few hours, an entire day, and can even stay overnight. While there, senior care providers can assist with everything from dressing, to cleaning, to preparing meals. A senior care provider can even help take care of your aging relative’s pet.


If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Hobe Sound, FL, contact the caring staff at BrightStar Care of Jupiter. Call today (561) 741-1200.