How to Help Someone After Bypass Surgery

When a person is recovering from bypass surgery at home, they will need extra help during the first few weeks following their operation. Despite its popularity, bypass surgery is a serious operation and patients need a significant amount of time to recover from it. By being aware of their limitations and helping them heal, you will be able to assist them in their speedy recovery.


  1. Image titled Help Someone After Bypass Surgery Step 1
    Understand their needs. A person who has just had bypass surgery is recovering from the effects of both the surgery and the medication that they have received to ease the pain. They may be groggy or overly tired, and may still have bandages and dressings to cover their wound.
    • In addition, they may not be able to walk well due to the incision and the pain that accompanies it.
    • Visit them in the hospital and talk to their nurses and doctors about their specific care needs.
  2. Image titled Help Someone After Bypass Surgery Step 2
    Prepare the home for their arrival. A person who is recovering from bypass surgery will be extremely limited in what they can do during their first few days at home.
    • They may be unable to climb stairs or do any type of heavy lifting.
    • According to the National Institutes of Health, people recovering from bypass surgery are advised not to drive a car or operate machinery for up to six weeks following the surgery.
    • Aerobic exercise and sexual activity may also be prohibited for weeks following bypass surgery.
    • Cook meals in advance that can be heated easily.
    • Take on household tasks such as cleaning and yard care until the person has made a full recovery.
  3. Image titled Help Someone After Bypass Surgery Step 3
    Encourage activity. While this may seem contrary to following the advice of the doctor that restricts activity, becoming active is a necessary part of healing after bypass surgery. The patient who has received bypass surgery should be encouraged to take small steps toward becoming independent.
    • This includes getting out of bed slowly and taking a few steps every day.
    • The patient should shower and bathe with help until he is able to bathe on his own.
    • The worst thing you can do is to allow the patient to languish in bed all day and not do anything for himself.
  4. Image titled Help Someone After Bypass Surgery Step 4
    Allow them to rest. Although the person recovering from bypass surgery should be attempting to do things for themselves and gradually become more active, getting proper rest is also key to healing.
    • The body will tell you when it is time to slow down and when it is taking on too much activity.
    • Watch the person for signs that they are over-exerting themselves. Extreme fatigue, blurred vision and headache are signs that the body needs to slow down. Encourage them to sit or nap if they are overdoing it. #*Keep small children quiet and out of the way so that the patient can rest.
  5. Image titled Help Someone After Bypass Surgery Step 5
    Give them positive feedback. Let the person know that they are doing well and that, with time, the pain from their surgery will subside and they will have a normal life. Your words of encouragement will give them the mental boost they need to recover and heal from their recent operation.
    • Avoid commenting on what the scar looks like or how they appear bloated (which they probably will) as a result of the surgery. Remain positive so that they will also be positive about their healing.


  • It is helpful to have supplies such as incontinence pads, bandages and towels handy to assist the patient after the surgery. Often the hospital will supply these.
  • Don't expect to follow a rigid guideline for recovery. Every person is different, and some heal more quickly than others.


  • Ask the patient's doctor what signs to look out for that indicate an emergency. Excessive bleeding or an elevated temperature can be a sign of trouble. Contact the patient's doctor immediately.

Things You’ll Need

  • Disposable pads
  • Scissors
  • Gauze
  • Bandages
  • Water bottle (for drinking fluids)
  • A comfortable bed
  • Reclining chair

Article Info

Categories: Domestic Assistance