Returning home after a stay in the hospital can be a significant transition. To help you prepare your home (or the home of the person you care for) and ensure a comfortable and safe environment, here are some steps you can take:
Clean and organize:
Start by thoroughly cleaning your home to remove any dust or allergens that could affect your health, or the health of your care recipient. Declutter and organize your living space to make it easier to move around.
Create a comfortable and accessible space:
Arrange your furniture in a way that allows for easy movement and accessibility, especially if you have mobility challenges. Ensure that there is enough space to accommodate any necessary medical equipment, such as a wheelchair or walker.
Identify and address potential hazards in your home. Remove loose rugs or cords that can cause tripping, install handrails in stairways and bathrooms, and secure any loose carpets. Consider installing grab bars in the bathroom and placing non-slip mats in the shower or bathtub.
Check your medical equipment:
If you were provided with any medical equipment during your hospital stay, such as oxygen tanks or mobility aids, ensure they are properly set up and functioning correctly. If needed, contact the medical equipment supplier or your healthcare provider for assistance.
Organize your medications and establish a system to ensure you take them correctly. Consider using pill organizers or setting reminders on your phone. If necessary, consult with your healthcare provider or pharmacist to clarify any instructions or potential interactions.
Make sure you have an adequate supply of any necessary medical supplies, such as wound dressings, disposable gloves, or medications. If required, arrange for home delivery or enlist the help of a caregiver or family member to assist you.
Arrange for assistance:
If you anticipate needing help with daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, or preparing meals, arrange for a caregiver or home health aide in advance. Coordinate with your healthcare provider or social worker to explore available options.
Communicate with your healthcare team:
It’s crucial to maintain open communication with your healthcare provider, particularly after leaving the hospital. Discuss any concerns, changes in symptoms, or medication adjustments promptly. They can provide guidance and monitor your progress.
Seek emotional support:
Returning home after a hospital stay can be emotionally challenging. Reach out to friends, family, or support groups to talk about your experiences and feelings. Consider therapy or counseling if needed.
Make It Easy for Yourself: Make sure everything you need is easy to get to and on the same floor where you will spend most of your time.
- Set up your bed on the first floor (or the entry floor) if you can.
- Have a bathroom or a portable commode on the same floor where you will spend most of your day.
- Stock up on canned or frozen food, toilet paper, shampoo, and other personal items.
- Either buy or make single meals that can be frozen and reheated.
- Make sure you can reach everything you need without getting on your tiptoes or bending down.
- Put food and other supplies in a cupboard that is between your waist and shoulder level.
- Place glasses, silverware, and other items you use often on the kitchen counter.
- Make sure you can get to your phone. A cell phone or wireless phone can be helpful.
- Place a chair with a firm back in the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and other rooms you will use. This way, you can sit when you do your daily tasks.
If you will be using a walker, attach a small basket to hold your phone, a notepad, a pen, and other things you will need to have close by. You can also wear a fanny pack.
Remember to follow any specific instructions given by your healthcare provider and adapt these suggestions to your individual circumstances. It’s essential to prioritize your well-being and ensure a smooth transition from the hospital to your home.
We hope this information is helpful to you in the important work you do as a family caregiver.
For more resources, subscribe to our free newsletter!