Almost everyone is excited about going home after having major surgery or being ill in the hospital.
Setting up your home to make your life easier and safer will help ensure that your recovery will be complete and fast.
Ask your doctor, nurse, or physical therapist about getting your home ready. You may not need all of the changes listed below, but read carefully for some good ideas on how you can remain safe and healthy in your home.
Make sure everything you need is easy to get to and on the same floor where you will spend most of your time. If you will need to use the stairs, you should limit using them to once a day.
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 sturdy bag or a small basket to it to hold your phone, a notepad, a pen, and another other things you will need to have close by. You can also use a fanny pack.
You may need help with bathing, using the toilet, cooking, running errands, shopping, going to the doctor, and exercising.
If you do not have someone to help you at home for the first 1 or 2 weeks after surgery, ask your doctor or nurse about having a trained caregiver come to your home to help you. This person can also check the safety of your home and help you with your daily activities.
Some items that may help:
Raising the toilet seat height may make things easier for you. You can do this by adding a seat cover or elevated toilet seat or a toilet safety frame. You can also use a commode chair instead of a toilet.
You may need to have safety bars in your bathroom. Grab bars should be secured vertically or horizontally to the wall, not diagonally.
You can make several changes to protect yourself when you take a bath or shower:
Sit on a bath or shower chair when taking a shower:
Keep tripping hazards out of your home.
Pets that are small or move around may cause you to trip. For the first few weeks you are home, consider having your pet stay elsewhere (such as with a friend, in a kennel, or in the yard).
Do not carry anything when you are walking around. You may need your hands to help you balance.
Practice using a cane, walker, crutches, or a wheelchair. It is especially important to practice the correct ways to:
Updated by: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, and Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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