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Thoracic Home Visit
An appointment has been arranged for a home visit following discharge from Ward 32, The James Cook University Hospital.
All visit times are approximate as nurse may be delayed at previous visit.
If this is not convenient, please contact the team to rearrange:
Thoracic Team, Ward 32, The James Cook University Hospital
Telephone: 01642 854532
It may take many weeks or months to recover from a lung operation. Some people recover more quickly than others. You need to pace yourself and try not to do too much, too soon.
You need to avoid:
- Heavy lifting
- Straining your arm on the affected side
- You can slowly build up your strength and fitness with light exercise, such as short walks. It is important to keep doing any exercises the physiotherapist has given you.
To help your recovery, try to:
Get enough rest
Do light exercise
Keep taking your painkillers as your nurses explained prior to discharge
You usually have your stitches, clips or staples removed about 7 to 10 days after your operation. Or if you have dissolvable stitches, they disappear over a few weeks.
Your nurses and surgeon check your wound regularly while you are in hospital.
Tell them if:
- You have any redness, pain or swelling
- It feels hot
- There is any fluid leaking
These are possible signs of a wound infection.
Contact your nurse if the pain is not controlled or you have any problems with your wound.
Holistic needs assessment
This screening tool is aimed to encourage professionals and patients to explore current problems and issues that may be affecting patients’ physical, psychological, social and spiritual well-being.
- Coping with dependants
- Work or school
- Hobbies or leisure activities
• Worries or anxieties
• Alcohol or smoking or other drugs
• Unable to express feelings
• Feeling isolated
• Loss of dignity
• Forgetful or confused
• Loss of control
Spiritual and religious concerns
- Questioning values and beliefs
- Sense of meaning
- Issues relating to dying and death
- Rest or activity
My appearance or body image
- Skin Dry or itchy or wound healing
- Swollen (limbs or abdomen)
- Weight changes – loss or gain
- Sexual problems
- Hair loss
- Bathing or dressing
- Getting around
- Changes in passing urine
- Difficulties in communicating breathing
- Change in sensation: hands and feet
- Sores or painful mouth
- Nausea or vomiting
- Taste changes
- Swallowing difficulties
- Change in appetite
- Food preparation
- Any other factors
Exercise following thoracic surgery
Exercise after discharge from hospital
After your operation, your lung function should improve and your ability to exercise will gradually increase. However because of your lung condition you may have been unable to exercise for some time, so your increase in activity needs to be done gradually, to build your fitness slowly.
NHS Physical Activity Guidelines suggest people should aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week, however this may not be realistic immediately post operatively, it is a goal to aim for.
Regular exercise is proven to reduce the risk and severity of chronic disease as well as increasing your ability to recover from your surgery.
Moderate exercise includes activities such as
- Riding a bike
- Yoga or pilates
The 150 minutes can be broken down as needed throughout the course of the week. Depending on your current levels of fitness it may be advisable to break the 150 minute total down into smaller, more manageable periods of exercise. If experiencing significant shortness of breath on exertion, pause, allow breathing to recover, then continue as able at a lower intensity if required.
7 x 20 to 25 minutes (one walk each day)
10 x 15 minute periods over the course of a week
The NHS website also has links to 24 instructor lead exercise videos ranging from 10 to 45 minutes duration. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/nhs-fitness-studio/
Further information on how to increase your physical activity pre and post treatment can be found on the Macmillan “we are undefeatable” website https://www.macmillan.org.uk/we-are-undefeatable
Post-op patients should avoid exercises involving loading through the upper limbs for the first 6 weeks
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After lung surgery, it is normal to have some pain or discomfort. There are different ways it can be managed. Your nurse will assess you to make sure your pain is well controlled. This is important so you can do your breathing exercises. These exercises help reduce your risk of a chest infection.
Your doctor will give you painkiller tablets to take when you go home. You may have mild discomfort or pain in your chest. This can last for up to several weeks or months after surgery. Some people get new pain weeks or months after their operation. This is usually caused by nerves starting to repair after surgery.
Pain Score 0-10
0 – No pain
2 – Discomfort
4 – Little pain
6 – Moderate pain
8 – Severe pain
10 – As much pain as could possibly bear
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Help with prescription charges
The help you can get to pay for prescriptions is different across the UK.
If you need prescriptions for anything related to cancer or its effects, you can apply for a medical exemption certificate. You need to collect an FP92A form from your GP surgery.
This lasts for 5 years and can be renewed if you are still eligible.
Your doctor will tell you when it is safe to drive after your operation.
It can take about 4 to 6 weeks for you to be fit enough. At first, you may find the seatbelt presses on your wound and makes it sore. You can buy padding for seatbelts that may help reduce this.
Some car insurance policies give specific time limits for not driving after chest surgery. Check with your insurance company.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) and lung cancer surgery
Having had lung surgery, you remain in an “at risk” group. The recommendation is that you practice “shielding” irrespective of the extent of your surgery until you are fully recovered.
Lung surgery is a major operation and the more you follow this plan, the better you will recover.
Make sure you take any medication given to you, including any pain medication, at the times and frequencies recommended. The pain medication will help you be able to breathe, stretch and exercise, all of which are crucial in helping you get better.
Keep in touch (remotely or at a distance) with family and friends. Use phone calls, conference calls and video chats to help you through the coming days and weeks where you are isolating yourself physically from other people. You may also prefer to write emails, texts, or letters.
- Stacey Stockdale
- Leanne Connelly
- Rachel Calvert
- Hayley McNaught
Any problems we can be contacted on 01642 854532
Monday to Friday.
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust would like your feedback. If you wish to share your experience about your care and treatment or on behalf of a patient, please contact the patient experience department who will advise you on how best to do this.
This service is based at The James Cook University Hospital but also covers the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, our community hospitals and community health services.
To ensure we meet your communication needs please inform the patient experience department of any special requirements, for example; braille or large Print.
T: 01642 835964