After a hospital stay, you or your loved one will be tired, overwhelmed and grateful to be returning home. Preparing your home for a safe return before your enter the hospital or asking a family member to prepare your home will help ease the transition. Making your home as comfortable and stress free as possible will help speed your recover.
In the weeks leading up to your surgery:
Some patients opt to bank some of their own blood in case it’s needed during surgery. You can arrange for this with your surgeons office any time up to six weeks prior to surgery. Discuss this option with your doctor.
Plan to have someone stay with you during at least the first week of your return home. We recommend that a family member or friend stay with you 24 hours a day. Make sure that you have rides available from family members, friends or even a taxi service so that you can attend all of your follow-up visits to the hospital or a doctor’s office. Your doctor will inform you of his or her preferred follow up schedule. You can estimate that you will have visits at three, six and 12 weeks following your procedure.
If you already use a cane, walker or crutches, plan to bring them to the hospital with you. If you need any of these items following your hospital stay, your doctor or therapist will let you know. Other equipment, such as a raised toilet seat, bedside commode or shower chair, may help you be more comfortable and safe at home. Our social service team can order these items and have them delivered to your home in advance.
You may also benefit from having a handy man come to install grab bars around your toilet or shower. The bars can be purchased at any hardware store and are installed quickly. The bars will improve your independence and security in the bathroom. Never use a towel bar as a grab bar as they are not installed in the same way. A hand held shower may also be very helpful. If you do not have a hand held shower, a long handled brush may help.
After surgery, you will need help caring for yourself and any wounds. Plan ahead for assistance you may need. A family member or trusted friend may be able to help you care for your wounds. If you need a nurse to help with wound dressing or any telemedicine equipment, the hospital or skilled nursing facility will help you contact an appropriate home health agency who can send a nurse when needed.
Before you go to the hospital, plan your meals for once you return. Frozen or prepared foods can help eliminate shopping or preparation for you or your caregiver. Stock up in advance on frozen dinners or prepare your own meals and freeze them. Alternately, researching restaurants that deliver or signing up for on-line grocery service can ease meal preparation anxieties. Enlisting neighbors to deliver a meal each day is also a good way to stay in touch with your community and provide a little socialization during recovery. Our social service team can help you with neighborhood resources and set up the online grocery service.
In the days before your surgery:
Before your surgery, organize your home to clear your walking areas in order to prevent accidents. Temporarily, move excess furniture away from your favorite chair so you can reach your destination easily. Consider a first floor sleeping arrangement with a bed that is firm and your feet can touch the floor when you sit on the edge of the bed. You should have a bathroom nearby. Remove all throw rugs, extension cords, or telephone cords that could create a tripping hazard. Move items like soap, shampoo, your favorite coffee mug, and your favorite reading materials to a lower level where you can reach them easily.
Let your trusted neighbors know you will be away for a few days. Arrange for mail pick up or stop your mail. Suspend any newspapers. Be sure to remind your family members near and far away that you will be gone for a few days.
A small suitcase of familiar items will help make your hospital stay more comfortable. Pack any regular personal hygiene items (toothbrush, shampoo, and lotions), comfortable, loose pajamas that button in the front and are easy to put on, a knee-length robe, and slip-on shoes with a rubber bottom to prevent falls. Bring any reading materials or small projects or other items that will help you feel more comfortable. Do not bring jewelry, wallets and watches to the hospital or rehab facility. Bring several copies of a list of all medications and allergies. A cell phone is also a good way to stay in touch with your family and friends. Most hospitals and skilled nursing facilities have telephones in the room, but the long distance charges can be steep. Bring a phone card if you want to use their service.
On the Day before your Surgery:
Get lots of rest and drink plenty of water. Do not worry too much. Follow your doctor’s pre-surgery instructions carefully. Good luck, and we wish you a speedy recovery.