by Mark Hanson, AQA Occupational Therapist

Last year, I dislocated my right shoulder several times. It was incredibly painful; as was seeking help for it. One time I was waiting for an ambulance for over two hours. 

I had some medical imaging done, went to hospital a few times, and received varying opinions on the best course of action. I finally found an opinion that I liked, which was to get keyhole surgery. 

Given my background as an OT, I decided I’d do pre-hab: strengthening my shoulder before surgery, to promote a more successful recovery. 

As surgery was approaching, I realised I really didn’t want to be in hospital for a prolonged period of time. I wanted the freedom of being at home, and I like my home environment. I’ve got speakers set up around the house, so I can listen to my music, which is something that promotes health and wellbeing for me. 

I knew I could obtain hire equipment. So I reached out to my OT to help facilitate hiring equipment through my insurer. My apartment isn’t built for a wheelchair user, as I’m renting. With my upper limb function, and certain equipment, I can get away with it. But given I was looking down the barrel of eight weeks with only one functioning limb, some things needed to change.  

Mark was able to hire all the equipment he needed to do his rehab at home. 

We organised a hospital bed, a decent mattress with pressure care. A temporary hoist. And I got my shower modified. There was a lot of admin involved. I spent several days going back and forth with my treating team: identifying the products, obtaining the quotes, getting them justified by my OT, submitting them to my case manager, and then waiting for approval. 

But the comfort and freedom of being at home for my recovery definitely made it worth it. 

Once I’d rested my shoulder for long enough, I started rebuilding my strength with daily exercises and help from a community physio. Three months later, I’d regained my independence.

After sharing my experience with my peers, it turned out many of them had shoulder surgery planned as well. As we know, when your legs don’t work, your arms are doing twice the job. 

The prevalence of shoulder problems in our community is why I wanted to share my experience of doing rehab at home. Given so many of us might face elective surgery, our community should know they have options in how they manage their recovery.

Obviously, everyone’s needs are different. But if you think rehab at home might work for you, talk to your OT about it. And if you don’t have one, then get in touch with our team on (03) 9489 0777 or [email protected]

  • June 12, 2023

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