The Importance of Prehab Before Rehab

Does your older loved one have a major surgery coming up soon? Are you anxious about the outcome and how well your loved one will recover? Something worth considering is pre-habilitation, or prehab. Prehab is an exercise therapy program, very similar to post-surgery rehab, which is completed at least six weeks prior to one’s surgery.

“Prehab can often be a vital aide to older individuals who have an upcoming surgery,” states Deb Hunter, Assistant Executive Director at Greenwood House, a not-for-profit, mission-based senior living community located in Ewing, New Jersey. “It is essentially getting in shape and preparing the body, and mind, for surgery and the recover afterward.”

Why Prehab Before Rehab?

Prehab is a physical therapy style program which has been used for years by professional athletes and is now being found to be extremely effective in helping individuals better prepare and recover faster from surgery. Research has discovered, from joint replacements to abdominal operations, prehab is linked to faster recovery time and overall improved physical health. So, in aiding your loved one for their upcoming surgery, evaluate these few points on prehab and consider adding a prehab program to your loved one’s preparation plan. 

Optimizing Prehab for You

An average prehab program last about six weeks prior to your planned surgery but can range anywhere from four to twelve weeks. Within that time period, individuals normally work out their body in some way between three and five days each week. The actual physical movements focus on stability and endurance within one’s core as well as movement-based training, centered on muscle strength used to complete day-to-day tasks. With such open flexibility, and with guidance from your loved one’s physical therapist, a prehab program can easily be adjusted to your loved one’s limitations and specific needs. 

It’s Not All About Getting Fit

More often than not, prehab programs include much more than just physical therapy. The goal of prehab is to fully prepare your loved one for surgery. Possible additions to your loved one’s program beyond physical therapy may include receiving optimal sleep or slightly altering their diet or habits in preparation of their surgery. These positive habits will help improve your loved one’s mood and can be beneficial to their health whether or not they are preparing for surgery. Furthermore, making simple adjustments to your loved one’s lifestyle prior to surgery can help ease any stark change in routine post-surgery.  

Prevent Future Injuries

Beyond preparing for surgery, prehab can also act as simple conditioning training for your loved one, helping prevent future injuries. Prehab can bring awareness to possible weaker muscle or joint areas which can then be exercised within your loved one’s particular program to avoid future breaks or damage. By building up muscle strength, your loved one will also develop movement patterns which can guarantee they can continue doing all the activities they enjoy for longer without the fear of injuries from overuse or fatigue.

Be Prepared and See Results

The amazing effects of a prehab program can be seen just twenty-four hours after surgery. A massive knee-replacement surgery can leave patients who are expected to be struggling to walk walking with crutches or a walker from their bed to the bathroom a day after surgery. To leave the hospital these patients must demonstrate that they are able to walk up and down stairs. These tasks can be a lot to ask of an older individual who just underwent massive surgery. However, by strengthening their body with a prehab program, your loved one will be more fit and as a result will have shorter hospital stays and a higher chance of being referred to outpatient rehab over an inpatient rehab facility. 

Recovering post-surgery can be a long, painful process. Prehab can be beneficial for anyone prior to surgery, but most especially to older individuals. Preparing both your loved one’s body through physical therapy as well as their mind through simple changes in their routine can improve their recover time and ultimately save you and your loved one money in medical bills. So, as part of your loved one’s surgery preparation plan, consider a prehab program to encourage positive health benefits long after your loved one’s recovery is over. 

If you need assistance with your search and want to learn more about what assisted living has to offer your loved one, give Greenwood House a call today at (609) 358-0425.

You’ll Love the Way We Care

Offering an array of services including skilled nursing, assisted living, rehabilitation, homecare and hospice care, Greenwood House offers care with a higher purpose. As a not-for-profit, mission-based community, we hold ourselves to a higher standard. 

When we opened our doors in 1939, we made a promise to care for seniors, and as their needs evolve and change, so do ours. We take pride in meeting various needs and desires, and providing a lifestyle that enriches lives, increases peace of mind and ensures care for today and tomorrow. 

For more information or to schedule a tour, contact our team today at (609) 358-0425.