Preparing Your Home
Making a home "recovery friendly" is easy. A good rule of thumb is to think safety first, then comfort.
Remove the Barriers
- Remove throw or area rugs that may cause you to slip or that could get caught on the tip of a cane, crutch, or walker
- Securely fasten phone and electric cords around the outside walls of the room
- Rearrange furniture to clear traffic paths in the house
- Secure floor mats with non-skid backing. Use non-skid mats or adhesive strips in the bathtub
- Repair loose carpeting. Mark changes in floor levels in some obvious way (bright, non-skid tape)
- Check stairways. Are there handrails? Are the rails secure?
- Add a couple of nightlights, at least in your bedroom
- Eliminate clutter. Clear countertops and organize items you use daily within arm's reach to reduce the need to reach up or bend down. Install slide-out shelving, adjustable rods, baskets and other closet organizers
- Convert a first-floor room into a temporary bedroom
Give the bathrooms a close look, since you will have limited flexibility or mobility. Consider the following:
- Install grab bars in the shower, by the tub, and near the toilet for safety and support
- Install an elevated toilet seat
- Add a bath/shower seat or transfer bench
- Replace fixed shower heads with hand-held shower heads
Set up a recovery center. Choose a space where you will spend most of your time during the day—a favorite easy chair, or perhaps the sofa. Gather items that you might like to have within reach: a phone, remote controls, a box of tissues, a wastebasket, and reading material. When you begin home recovery, add such things as reading glasses and/or a contact lens case, medications, instructions from the doctor, and an address book. Set up other recovery centers in the bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and any other room where you spend time.
Shop before surgery for those things that will make your life easier. Some examples may include:
- A long-handled sponge
- A grabbing or reaching tool
- A footstool
- A big-pocket shirt or a soft shoulder bag for carrying things
A little time spent now will make your return home much easier.