Saturday, November 17, 2018



Home care brings major changes to the home. The patient may need the largest of your bedrooms…to fit a hospital bed, monitoring and life-support equipment, space to maneuver a Hoyer lift, storage for clothing and frequently used medical supplies.  Because of the frequent interruptions occasioned by treatments, medications, and feedings, a Significant Other will likely find it advantageous to sleep elsewhere in the home. A television, a CD player, and a radio and a reading lamp help in providing entertainment for the bedridden patient. We subscribed to a wide spectrum of cable TV channels and Netflix, though only a few became favorites. And over the years, an abundance of DVDs has been added to the library. (Cooper, 2011)

You’ll need a surprising amount of room to store your wheelchair, lift, disposable absorbent materials (disposable underwear), pads, gloves, equipment tubing and associated filters and connectors, your oxygen supplies (tanks, concentrator), medical record files, feeding supplies, etc.

Preparation of medications and feeding materials normally occurs in a kitchen setting, but you need to set aside an area separate from what the family uses for preparing and eating meals. If the patient cannot safely swallow, you will need to pose signs that say, “Nothing to swallow, NPO” [NPO is nil per os, Latin for “nothing by mouth].

We found it beneficial having a spare bedroom for the nurses to use when scheduling or weather complications made their coming and going more difficult. You may need to remove some rugs for safety and even an occasional door if there is difficulty getting a wheelchair or stretcher through it. We were glad to have a laundry room right by the bedroom. We added a ramp to access the front door and were fortunate to have the bedrooms on the ground floor. Consideration must be given to how the patient will be evacuated in case of fire, and we prohibited any flames anywhere in the home. Fire alarms were installed in several rooms and front and back door areas had fire extinguishers.

In case of emergency, one wants help to have easy access, so we did not lock our doors. For an alarm and somewhat for our protection, we had a dog, one who raised a fuss when strangers came, although no one was ever bitten. The nurses came to like having Brandy (and later, Colette), especially the nurses who handled the overnight shifts.

Having retired somewhat sooner than expected, I (DWC) was able to be at home generally 20 hours a day, to provide some help, monitor activities, handle paperwork, and occasionally socialize with our two patients. Visitors were rare, as we did not invite many in, partly to limit risk of infection and partly due to the loss of friends and family after we moved to the country.

Contact information:
Diane R. Beggin, RN
40 Sycamore Drive
Montgomery, NY 12549

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