There is no greater relief after a spell in hospital then the chance to come home. But it’s vital that your home is ready for your arrival, ensuring that life will be as easy and safe as possible as you recuperate.
If surgery is planned you can prepare your home in advance. When a hospital stay is unplanned, your family and friends may need to pitch in. Either way, how your home is prepared can make a big difference to your recovery.
To assist you and your family we have created a checklist of things to consider before coming home from hospital. You are unlikely to need everything on this list, but it’s a good idea to review the list carefully and tick off those items that will make home happier and safer in your situation.
Make sure the things you need are accessible:
- Stairs can be a nightmare after surgery, so it’s a good idea to set up a bed somewhere on the first floor. Depending on your situation you may want to consider renting an electric hospital bed so you can easily get in and out of bed.
- Make sure there is a bathroom or portable commode on the same floor where you will be spending most of your time.
- Make sure you are able to easily reach the phone. Access to a mobile or wireless phone is the best option.
- Check your kitchen, bedroom and bathroom cabinets and ensure that you can reach everything you need without having to get on your tiptoes or bend down.
Get the help you need:
- You may need help bathing, using the toilet, cooking, running errands, going to the doctor or exercising. If you don’t have someone to help you at home for the first 1-2 weeks after hospital, ask you health care provider about having a trained caregiver provide regular assistance.
Don’t let your home be a danger zone:
- Bathrooms can be slippery and dangerous places when you are a little unstable. Consider securing grab and suction rails to help you get in and out of the bath, sit down on the toilet and stand in the shower.
- When sitting and standing become awkward, an elevated toilet seat can make life much easier.
- If you don’t already have them, put non-slip suction mats in and out of your tub to prevent falls.
- For added stability consider renting a shower stool or shower chair to enable you to sit under the shower.
- Avoid falls throughout your home by clearing away trip hazards such as loose wires or throw rugs.
- Have nightlights placed in dark hallways or rooms that you may need to wander in the night.
- Small pets can be a trip hazard. For the first few weeks after you get home, consider having your pet stay elsewhere.
Consider items that may make your recovery more comfortable:
- Mobility is often an issue when first returning from hospital. There is a wide range of mobility aids available, from crutches to wheelchairs. Talk to your health care provider to determine the best option for you.
- If your skin is sensitive post op you may want to invest in a bed cradle. These devices support the weight of the bedcovers and prevent them from rubbing against your skin.
- If your mobility will be restricted then a grasping aid will enable you to reach and clutch a wide variety of items in your home.
- Washing is often difficult after surgery, so consider investing in a shower sponge with a long handle.
- You may be required to wear compression garments during your recovery. These can be a pain to put on and off, so it’s a good idea to invest in a stocking donner which significantly reduces the effort and pain involved in applying compression garments to arms or legs.
- If you will be spending a lot of time in bed then an over bed table will make it easier for you to eat, work or play from bed.
Use this checklist as a guide when talking to your health care providers about heading home from hospital. Be aware that many of the items listed above are available to rent so you can ensure your home is safe and comfortable without spending a fortune.
Willaid is Coffs Harbour’s leading health care equipment providers. We understand home care and are happy to provide additional advice when you need it.
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