Preparing your home for a loved one’s return from hospital

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Returning home from a hospital stay is a transition worth celebrating! Coming back to a familiar environment and the comforts of home can go a long way to mending spirits and physical ailments. Although your loved one might not need round-the-clock care, pain, mobility, poor vision or other impairments can greatly affect home activities. Ensure your loved one’s return is a safe one by preparing your home before the big arrival and following the tips below.

Remove tripping and falling hazards. Ensure that the path 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 because of 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 in a locked position in case your loved one leans on them for stability. Avoid using wax cleaners on floors since they can increase slipperiness.

Keep frequently used items handy. Keep items like television remotes, portable telephones, books, glasses or a favourite mug in a central place nearby for easy access. You may also want to leave food supplies at waist to shoulder level so your loved one can access them without reaching or bending– movements that may cause discomfort.

Be seating friendly. Your loved one may feel dizzy or tired after a hospital stay and 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 of 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 can’t navigate stairs easily, you may need 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. Consider a commode for the bedside if frequent or urgent bathroom trips are necessary in the night.

Planning the transition from hospital ahead of time will help ease your stress as a caregiver and ensure your loved one remains as safe and independent as possible while enjoying the comforts of home. Visit www.familycaregiving.ca for more resources and insights on a range of caregiving issues.

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