When a relative or friend is returning home after a stay in the hospital, you need to prepare your house to make sure that it is much easier and safer for them. It is important that your home is comfortable because they need time to recover and recuperate. A doctor or physical therapist can help guide you on how to appropriately prepare your home for an outpatient.
If their surgery was planned, it can give you enough time to prepare your house in advance. If their stay in the hospital was unplanned, you can have your friends or family members do what is required. A sudden hospitalization can give you very less time to prep your home, but you can do what is immediately required. This article will help you with some great ideas on how you can prepare your home so an outpatient can have a safe and healthy stay.
Make everything easy
The most important thing for an outpatient is ease of access. You have to ready your home in such a fashion that everything they need is easy to reach and preferably on the same floor as them. Here are some tips on how you can make it easy for them.
- Set up their bed on the entry floor or the first floor so they do not have to climb the stairs often.
- Make sure this bed is close to a bathroom. This helps them avoid too much walking to and from the bathroom. Also make sure you have a portable commode to avoid any accidents.
- Stock up on necessities such as toilet paper, shampoo, sanitary napkins, frozen food, and other personal items.
- Make sure you either buy or prepare single meals to avoid wastage. They can also be easily frozen or reheated when necessary.
- It is important that necessary items are placed in areas that are easy to reach without needing to bend down or stretch for. Food items and other necessary supplies should be stored in a cupboard that is no higher than your waist or shoulder level.
- Make sure that essentials like spoons, towels, cellphone, water bottles, etc. are within arm’s reach.
- Although the outpatient may have been recommended bed rest, place a chair with a firm back in the room so they can sit upright if and when they choose to.
- If they are using a walker, you could attach a small basket that can hold their phone, a pen and notepad, a small bottle of water, and other things they might want to keep close. A fanny pack also helps.
Be present and helpful
Your relative or friend could have just had surgery and can be incapable of performing simple daily tasks like bathing, cooking, using the bathroom, going to see the doctor, running errands, exercising, etc. by themselves. Outpatients require the most amount of attention and assistance during the first one or two weeks after hospitalization. If you are unable to be present all the time and provide the necessary assistance, you can always reach out to your health care provider and have a professional caregiver attend to the outpatient. However, there are some items that you can buy and install in your home that can make it easier for the outpatient. They are:
- Handle bars in the bathroom and railing along the passageway, if required
- Anti-slip tiles or mats in the bathroom
- Place a reacher close to their bed so they can reach out for and pick up things
- A shower sponge with a long handle
- Shoehorns and sock aids to help with wearing socks and shoes
- Walker, crutches, or a cane, if necessary
Set up the bathroom
While you are readying your home for the outpatient, it is important that you do not forget about the bathroom. Here are some steps you can take to prepare your bathroom.
- Use a raised toilet seat to add height. This can make it easier to get on and off the toilet.
- Fix a commode chair instead of a toilet, if necessary.
- Install safety or grab bars horizontally or vertically to the bathroom wall near the toilet and bathtub.
- Put non-slip mats or silicone decals in the bathtub to avoid slipping and falling.
- Place a non-skid bath mat outside the bath tub to help with firm footing after the bath.
- Buy a chair, preferably without arms, so they can be seated while taking a bath or shower.
- Place soap, shampoo, and other bath essentials well within reach.
- Make sure the floor outside the shower or tub is always dry.
One major safety tip you need to keep in mind while preparing your home is to prevent falls. Tripping hazards can be very dangerous. Here is what you should do to prevent falls in your home.
- Remove loose cords or wires for passageways.
- Remove loose rugs or mats.
- Make sure uneven flooring is fixed.
- Ensure that the doorways are well lit and install night lights.
Your home will become a sanctuary for your relative or friend during their recover time, so it is essential that you make it as comfortable as possible for them. The most important factor is that you remain supportive and helpful during this time since this is when they will need you the most.