A total hip replacement will require a dramatic change in your bathing habits while recovering from surgery. Patients must exercise extreme caution to avoid getting the surgical site wet and to avoid fall-related injuries during bathing post-op. Below is a list of suggestions based on my personal experience with bathing after a total hip replacement.
My doctor did not allow me to bath for two weeks after my total hip replacement. During this two week period I used several products to cleanse my skin and hair that did not involve using water. Among those was Cetaphil ┬« cleansing lotion. Cetaphil┬« cleansing lotion is a dermatologist-recommended lotion that can be used cleanse away skin oils and odor without using water. I found this product to be very helpful in aiding me to cleanse my legs and areas near my surgical site that I could not risk getting wet while taking a sponge bath.
I cleansed areas that weren’t near my surgical site, like my face, arms and torso with good old-fashioned sponge baths. While this isn’t the most glamorous means of bathing, it is a way to stay fresh and feel as clean as possible during a post-surgical period that forbids bathing. I recommend using a mild cleanser and using it sparingly, as it will be difficult to rinse away excess soap residue. Patients should also use two water buckets; one for clean water to rinse with and one for soapy water, during a sponge bath. This will make it easier to rinse away any soap residue and prevent chaffing.
After I was cleared to bath, I utilized a “shower bench” to safely bathe myself. A shower bench is a device that sits in your bathtub or shower and extends over the edge of your tub or shower stall. It makes it possible for a patient to bathe without having to be lowered completely into a bathtub. The patient first sits on the part of the shower bench that extends outside of the bathtub or shower stall. Then, the patient can pivot or gently scoot across the shower bench until they are sitting over the bathtub. Most patients will need help lifting their legs over the side of a bathtub or shower stall during the initial part of their recovery.
Once safely seated on the part of the shower bench that sits in the bathtub, a patient can then bathe in an upright position. Most shower benches are coated in a non-slip material that will keep the patient firmly in place and prevent slipping. Shower benches usually contain a circular cut out on the side of the bench that sits inside the bathtub or shower stall. This is so the patient can bath his or her buttocks and rinse from underneath. I highly recommend purchasing a shower head with a hose attachment prior to surgery. The hose attachment will allow the patient to direct the water flow while sitting on the shower bench and will make rinsing away soap much easier in a seated position.
I also purchased a “bathing wand” to use while bathing on a shower bench. Just as it sounds, a bathing wand is a “sponge-on-a-stick”, or similar device, that allows patients to bathe all parts of their body while remaining safely seated on a shower bench. Be sure to rinse your bathing wand well and wring out any excess water after use to prevent mildew from collecting on the device.
These suggestions are the best practices that I found worked well during my recovery. Be sure to check with your doctor to see what recommendations he or she has with regard to bathing after surgery. Individual situations may require a different set of strategies to help a patient safely bathe while recovering from a total hip replacement.
Certainly, hips replacement is a hard process recovery. At first, you will be very frustrated and seem helpless. But overtime, as you learn to adapt in your current situation, you will be bale to overcome and you will soon reach the finish line of recovery.