A laryngectomy is a surgical procedure that removes that larynx. The larynx is responsible for helping food and beverages make their way to the stomach instead of the lungs. Undergoing a laryngectomy procedure can be daunting, especially for an older individual. If you’ve been enlisted to help care for a senior after this surgery, you’ll want to know a few tips. Here are three helpful tips to care for a senior after a laryngectomy procedure.
Be Prepared to Communicate Without Speaking
It’s important to remember that a senior will likely be unable to speak after surgery. The larynx helps people to make sounds needed for proper speech. A major part of recovery after a laryngectomy is learning how to communicate without a larynx. It’s wise to utilize pictures, notebooks, or other types of communication that aren’t verbal. One device that can help patients communicate while recovering from a laryngectomy is an electrolarynx. An electrolarynx is often placed against the neck, assisting in making speech clearer.
Ensure You Have Backup Supplies
A stoma is created during a laryngectomy to create an airway. Proper stoma care is a major part of the recovery process after a laryngectomy surgery. You’ll want to ensure that the stoma is kept clean. It’s recommended that you clean a stoma gently, never be too forceful. It’s best to have soap and water that is able to remove crust and mucus from the stoma. Medical cotton rolls work well for absorbing excess soap and water. A senior will require stoma covers for laryngectomy. Not keeping the stoma properly covered can lead to a bacterial infection. You’ll want to ensure any stoma covers for laryngectomy create a proper seal. A room full of dry air is not good for someone recovering from a laryngectomy. It’s advisable to keep a humidifier to help stop a stoma from crusting over.
Light Physical Movement is Important
Statistics show that 81% of retired individuals felt good health to be the most important factor for a joyful retirement. It’s understandable that a senior will require plenty of bed rest while recovering from a laryngectomy. However, you’ll still want to ensure the senior gets enough physical movement, if possible. A senior is treated in the emergency room for a fall every 15 seconds which means you’ll want to go easy. You don’t need to tire a senior out through too much physical activity. If a senior has difficulty moving around on their own, it’s best to assist them. Walkers and canes work well for keeping seniors balanced while walking. Statistics show that about 10% of senior citizens use at least one mobility device. There are many walking aids for seniors available in a wide range of sizes and styles.
In summary, a laryngectomy is a major surgical procedure which makes proper recovery important. It’s important to realize that someone recovering from a laryngectomy will be unable to communicate through voice. Not being able to talk properly can feel overwhelming for someone. You’ll want to ensure communication is able to happen using method that doesn’t require speaking. Keep plenty of backup supplies on hand including stoma covers for laryngectomy on hand. People are at risk of developing blood clots if resting in bed for too long. You’ll want to ensure the senior you’re caring for regularly gets to move around.