In setting up the patient’s room, be sure the room you use for home health care is located on the ground floor, near a bathroom. This saves the patient from having to negotiate stairs, It is safer and it conserves the patient’s energy. It also saves the caregiver frequent trips up and down the stairs.
Use their own bed if you can. Sometimes a small thing like sleeping in their bed can give them comfort. If there is a possibility the patient could fall out of bed, be sure to attach guard rails to the bed. They are available through your local medical supply company or the hospital.
Give the patient all the independence they can handle. Place the TV remote, telephone, books, tissues and wastebasket close to the patient. A bedside caddy that can be attached to the side of the bed is handy.
As your patient begins to regain strength, put the TV and their favorite chair across the room, to encourage them to move around. Don’t make life too easy for them.
There are a few necessities for all sickrooms. Most important of all, surround them with their own personal item---objects and keepsakes that hold special meaning. Favorite pictures should be strategically placed where they can see them, especially if they are confined to bed. There is nothing like familiar objects to make your loved one feel more secure.
A favorite picture album can be a useful item, especially if the patient is beginning to forget things. Label all the pictures with names and dates. Use a small album so that the patient can hold it easily, then look at the album with them, pointing out familiar faces and asking who they are. Keep their mind busy. Good brain exercise.
If they walk with an aid, they will want their walker or wheelchair nearby in case they need it. There should be a comfortable chair in their room, with a table next to it, for rest and reflection. A favorite chair from their home or a rocking chair is nice, especially if you can place it near a window.
A pitcher of water should always be within reach, along with a plastic glass and straw, unless the patient is not to have liquids. If the bathroom is very far away and the patient is weak, a portable commode or bedpan should be kept close to the bed for easy use. There are two types of bedpans, one that is the normal depth and another that is called a fracture pan. The pan is cut low for those patients who can’t lift themselves. If a commode is used it can be covered with a throw or afghan to disguise it.