Returning home from a hospital stay is usually a good sign that your loved one is on the mend and it can help to lift spirits and speed recovery to be surrounded by the comforts of home and familiar things. Although your loved one no longer needs hospital care, they may still be experiencing pain, mobility and balance issues, poor vision or other impairments that can affect their activities in the home. To help make sure that their journey to wellness is a safe one, it’s important to take some steps to prepare your home before they arrive.
Here are some tips to help make a safer home for your loved one.
Remove tripping and falling hazards. Ensure that the path from the road to your home is clear of snow, leaves and other debris. Inside, items such as throw rugs, electrical cords and clutter (e.g. children’s toys, boxes, shoes in the front hallway) may be harder for your loved one to navigate due to mobility issues. Be sure to move these out of the way and have clear paths throughout the home. Keep rooms well lit so that objects left by family members or pets can be seen. Remove any furniture on wheels or make sure they are immobilized in case your loved one leans on them for stability. And don’t use wax finishes on floors since they can increase slipperiness.
Keep frequently used items within reach. There are numerous items around the house that your loved one may often need. You can increase his or her comfort by keeping items like television remotes, portable telephones, books, glasses or a favourite mug in a central place out in the open for easy access. Similarly, you may want to leave food supplies at waist to shoulder level so your loved one can access them without reaching or bending– movements that may be uncomfortable for them.
Be seating friendly. Your loved one may experience dizziness and general tiredness after their hospital stay and they may need to rest more often. Add firm pillows to low chairs and flat surfaces to provide seating options around the house. Have a seat at the entrance to your home so your loved one can remove or put on shoes or boots from a comfortable position.
Create a one-floor space. If your loved one is unable to navigate stairs easily, it may be necessary to set up a bedroom on the main level. Have a lamp or flashlight near the bed for easy access and use a night light to help them safely walk about. Consider a commode for the bedside if frequent or urgent bathroom trips are necessary in the night.