When an older family member is told they need a stent, family caregivers may be uncertain just what that means. After all, “stent” isn’t likely to be a word you hear in everyday conversation. Knowing more about how stents work can help you to feel more comfortable with the procedure and how to care for your aging relative afterward.
What is a Stent?
Stents are tiny tubes made of mesh that are used to prop open a blood vessel that has become blocked. The majority of stents are made from wire mesh or plastic that holds up over time. These stents are typically permanent. Another kind of stent is meant to dissolve over time. These stents are usually covered in a medication that will help the blood vessel to remain open when the stent is gone.
Stents are inserted into the blood vessel during an inpatient procedure that takes about an hour. Most people stay in the hospital overnight afterward. To perform the procedure, the doctor creates a small incision in the groin, arm, or neck. A tube, called a catheter, is inserted in the incision and guided through the blood vessels until it reaches the blocked area. Inside the tip of the tube is a small balloon. When it reaches the blockage, the doctor inflates it to make the artery wider and improve the flow of blood. The catheter is then inserted, and the tube and balloon are removed.
What Should You Do After a Stent Procedure?
The older adult will probably come home from the hospital the day after the procedure, but it will take about a week before they can return to their normal activities. In the meantime, they should drink lots of liquids to help remove dies used during the procedure from the body. It’s also important that they not lift anything too heavy for at least 24 hours. There may be other restrictions, which the doctor will inform them of.
After the stent is placed, keep an eye on the senior for any of the following issues. Call the doctor if any of them occur.
- The incision or the area around it bleeds or swells.
- The incision site becomes painful.
- There are signs of infection.
- The senior feels weak, has chest pain, or shortness of breath.
Elder care is an excellent way to ensure your older family member is safe and cared for after a stent procedure. An elder care provider can be scheduled to stay with the senior when family members are not available. While there, they can prepare meals, take care of some light housework, and keep the older adult company. In addition, they can help to watch for signs of infection and symptoms that warrant a call to the doctor.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Senior Care in West Bloomfield, MI, please contact the caring staff at Alliance Senior Care today. Call (248) 274-2170.