How to prepare a house for homecoming patient

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Phyllis

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Thanks, Ross. Now there is a sticky in pre-surgery on what to take to the hospital and one in post-surgery on how to prepare for homecoming- Fantastic!!
 
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Der Biermeister

Guest
I could add to the original post by saying ... you do not under any circumstances want to contract a cold around the time of your surgery.

For at least the first month post-op, any kind of coughing will feel like it is killing you.

So ..... shun people with colds like they have the plague.
 

TomD

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Joined
Feb 28, 2008
Messages
51
Location
Placerville, CA, USA
Post Op Things to do

Post Op Things to do

Like most people on week one at home I am tired, my chest feels tight and I can barely walk 5 min 4 times per day. What I really appreciate is that when my Mother died we inherited her power chaise lounge. The kind that can lift a person almost to standing position. Well that chair has been a god send. I can go to it anytime I want and comfortably get in and out and adjust he legs and back to an unlimited number of options with just flick of the button. After a walk I head for the chair for a short rest. Sometimes at night when I can't sleep in the bed I go to the power chair for the balance of the night. You can rent them typically at any mobility stored for about $150/month.An investment well worth it
 

cday

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May 31, 2008
Messages
122
Location
Tyler, Texas
wedge pillow

wedge pillow

My husband's nights were much better after a friend lent him a wedge pillow purchased from a medical supply store. It is made of foam, about 9 inches tall at the head down to 1/16th in. and 25 inches long. Thought to cost around $40. Much cheaper than renting a hospital bed.
 

AquaJeff

Active member
Joined
Jun 17, 2008
Messages
31
Location
Long Island, NY USA
Here?s what I did for my Mom?s release to my house: If the moderator thinks it?s too long or has already been covered feel free to edit.

#1. Clean the house at least a day before they come home. You want to not only prevent infections but any allergens that can bother them. The reason you need to do it ahead of time is vacuuming actually can kick up dust, chemicals can irritate lungs & eyes so you want plenty of time for it to air out.
Remember, they will be weak and more susceptible to irritants.
As you know by now coughing and sneezing can be awful.

I vacuumed the rugs and sprayed them down with febreeze allergen reducer.
I washed the hard floors and sprayed the furniture with Lysol. I wanted to make sure the place was as germ free as I could get it. I made sure there were new bed sheets etc. but that didn?t matter because she slept on the couch. Some people on this site say they have slept in their own bed right away so you need to prepare for it.

Sleeping:
Pillows Pillows Pillows. I bought some of those temper-pedic pillows, some time she likes them sometimes not. The wedge that someone else posted sounds like a great idea.
I also cut up a temper-pedic mattress topper I bought from overstock.com $149.That has worked out very well for sitting.

If you have a reclining chair I?m told it?s great. I don?t. But I have an ottoman so she can put her legs up and raising the legs is very important.

Bathroom: I bought a toilet seat raiser with handles. You remove your standard seat and just put this one on top and it has a soft bracket that screws it tight. That was very important the first week home otherwise she would have needed assistance getting up and down. Also risk of falling is greater. I wish I had a shower stall but I have a regular tub. I bought her a shower chair and an anti-slip mat.
While showering the patient should probably use nothing but their hands over the incision site but I also bought ?Johnsons & Johnsons head to toe disposable wash cloths? for her to bathe with. They are clean; disposable, soft and were $3.99 for 14 of them.

Baby shampoo is a good idea too because she is a little wobbly and I didn?t want her to get soap in her eyes.

I ?borrowed? (with out the hospital?s knowledge) one of the pads they had under her in the hospital. In case of an ?accident?. She had diarrhea when she left the hospital. I?m sure you could buy them or find something similar in a surgical place but it was a last minute thought for me so I had to do what I did. I also bought bathroom wipes.
I also bought her some panty shields if she had a problem and she wore them for the first week home.

Feet: You want to make sure they do not slip and fall.
If the patient has swelling in their legs (something that is quite common I?m told) they may need slippers that are larger. My Mom kept the slip free socks they gave her in the hospital and I wash them every other day. I wish I had thought of that ahead of time and bought a few pair of those. They can?t be expensive and they are comfortable and give traction. Ordinary house slippers may not be as good. For going outside she is wearing my Crocs (those funny looking foam boat shoes/slippers with holes and bright colors). They are light, and slip-resistant, and easy to get on. So she wears them now until her swelling subsides. I?ll say it again, You do not want them to slip and fall.

Phones: Get cordless phone for the patient so thy can always hacve it handy.I also bought a phone ($70) that has an emergency pendant. If she falls or has trouble and I?m not there she can hit it and an alarm will go off for 15 seconds. Then it dials numbers you program in it. That made me feel more comfortable going outside. When she gets to go home to her own home I?m getting her one of those medic alert services.

Visitors:
Friends and family attention is great. But the first week especially the patient is probably going to be exhausted. Let the person rest when they want to rest.
Also, do not let any one expose them to colds or viruses. If in doubt, tell them to stay out!
Catching a cold after surgery is like pouring salt into the wound and can even be life threatening.

Speaking of salt: Limit it in the house. Your doctor will tell you to stay away from sodium. There?s too much of it in most food so you should learn a little about how to avoid too much.

Food:
They need to eat, unfortunately they may not have much of an appetite.
Our doctors said give her just about anything but avoid salt. She needs her appetite back. Try to get plenty of protein. They need protein and carbs. Read up or ask questions about foods that will help. More small meals will be better than fewer large ones.

Medicines: Their meds may be different after surgery. Make sure you can understand what their new medicine requirements are. I wrote it out in my computer and printed it out. I also marked special requirements next to them, like how many times a day, with or without meals etc. I also put them in a daily pill box. I got one that has am and pm sections this way I only need to assort the meds once a week and I won?t screw it up. ?As needed? type meds such as pain pills of course don?t get put in there.

Walkers:
If your patient needs a walker make sure there are clear paths to everywhere they need to go. Also, if you?re looking at walkers to buy, I bought the ?Winnie Walker? It?s like a trike and real versatile; here?s a site that has one; www.winniewalker.com
 
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strudell

Guest
I have couple of suggestions based on my current experience.

First one: I'm an avid reader and when I first came home it nearly killed me to do nothing but watch daytime TV. Reading was very difficult with the number of drugs in my system. If you have a Reader/Patient, have plety of easy reading available to keep their minds active.

Second, plenty of movies. Sign up for a mail-in movie club and get some good TV shows on DVD. Good way to kill the time.

Third: Juice. Or Kool-aid. I couldn't hack the water for the first few weeks. It tasted like blended rocks.

LAstly, keep logging into this site. It did wonders for me.
 

ponygirlmom

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Joined
May 2, 2008
Messages
660
Location
Fountain Hills, Arizona
I have couple of suggestions based on my current experience.

First one: I'm an avid reader and when I first came home it nearly killed me to do nothing but watch daytime TV. Reading was very difficult with the number of drugs in my system. If you have a Reader/Patient, have plety of easy reading available to keep their minds active.
This makes me wonder if others listened to books on tape.
 
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harlan

Guest
While in the hospital, I had difficulty focusing my attention, so I don't think books on tape would have been so valuable then. An I-Pod loaded with favorite music was great however. It helped block out noises and also helped me relax during those times I would wake up in the middle of the night and couldn't go back to sleep. For a few days after I got home, my vision was sometimes blurred. That's when books on tape would have been really useful. I'm three weeks post surgery now and have no trouble reading.
 

AquaJeff

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Jun 17, 2008
Messages
31
Location
Long Island, NY USA
While in the hospital, I had difficulty focusing my attention, so I don't think books on tape would have been so valuable then. An I-Pod loaded with favorite music was great however. It helped block out noises and also helped me relax during those times I would wake up in the middle of the night and couldn't go back to sleep. For a few days after I got home, my vision was sometimes blurred. That's when books on tape would have been really useful. I'm three weeks post surgery now and have no trouble reading.
Thanks for this post Harlan. I came on line today to check about my Mom's statement that she had blurry vision 3 x post op and she had trouble focusing her attention. Yesterday was the first day she could read again. This was the first time she told anyone about the blurry vision. And it it's a little over 2 weeks post op. I know the same symptoms can be different things in different people but it seems to be something others get. I will mention it to the surgeon next Tuesday but I'm a little less anxious now.
 
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deogloria

Guest
I have a little something to add, even though I'm pre-op (after 5 c-sections and a hernia surgery, I'm the surgery queen). I agree with the person who mentioned the electric lift chair. I bought mine and used it after babies 4 and 5 and my hernia surgery. What a relief! It's hard to sleep laying flat after any surgery, and OHS must be worse. I slept in mine for two weeks. Having to push in the footstool on a regular recliner was impossible after my surgeries, and I think it would be hard after OHS (it's amazing how many muscles in your abdomen and chest are used when you use your legs).

Sleeping in any recliner is hard on the legs, unless you have a plush footstool. I took the stretchy cords with velcro ends that they used in the hospital to strap fetal monitors to me (they throw them away anyway) and use them to strap a memory foam pillow to the footstool. The memory foam won't shift like regular pillows, you don't have to re-adjust them very often, and they give plenty of support. It might make your legs too high for sitting up, but for sleeping it's great. I also used down pillows sometimes under each arm, because my chair has low arms.

My husband would bring the chair into our bedroom so I could be away from the chaos with the kids and sleep when I needed to. He set up a table with my CPAP machine, laptop, tv remotes, books, ipod, reading lamp, medicines, etc.

You may also want to consider renting a motorized scooter. We've never had the money for this so instead, after my surgeries, my husband would drop me off at the front of a store and park while I went in and got one of the scooters they have for customers. What a lifesaver! I couldn't have gone to the store otherwise. But renting my own for places that don't have them would have been better. I hope to be able to rent one after my OHS, especially if it's a long recovery. Although if it's too long, I may buy one!

I'm fortunate that our house was set up by previous owners for a handicapped person. We've kept the modifications for our convenience--nice straight ramp to the front door, huge shower stall with adjustable height handheld shower head, railings alongside the tall toilet. It will all come in handy.

I like reading everyone else's suggestions...there are so many things I've never even thought of!
 

Ross

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You may also want to consider renting a motorized scooter. We've never had the money for this so instead, after my surgeries, my husband would drop me off at the front of a store and park while I went in and got one of the scooters they have for customers. What a lifesaver! I couldn't have gone to the store otherwise. But renting my own for places that don't have them would have been better. I hope to be able to rent one after my OHS, especially if it's a long recovery. Although if it's too long, I may buy one!

This would be an absolute NO NO. You need to walk as much as you can after surgery. Sitting on thy butt will NOT HELP YOU RECOVER. You must walk and excercise, first of all, to help get rid of water that has accumulated from surgery, second, to increase your lung and heart function, third to help your body get rid of the anesthesia. FORGET THE EASY SCOOTER!
 
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deogloria

Guest
Ross,

I agree, you're right, I should have been more specific. Yes, absolutely walk regularly after surgery so you don't die from a blood clot. :eek:

However, right after I've had surgeries, walking all the way across a Super Walmart (multiple times, if I kept forgetting things) is an impossibility. When I use a scooter at the store, I'm always up and down out of it, getting items, rearranging them in the cart, scooting in between racks of clothes to get something where it's too much trouble to squeeze the scooter through. And if the line at the checkout was long, I'd alternate between sitting in the cart, and standing or pacing about a little.

I only use the scooters in stores where the amount of walking would be too difficult or impossible for me to do while recovering. I never bothered with scooters in a smaller store, like Kmart.

Sorry for not clarifying that! :eek:
 

hensylee

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Jun 10, 2001
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snowy - Sharpsburg, Ga USA
"I ?borrowed? (with out the hospital?s knowledge) one of the pads they had under her in the hospital. In case of an ?accident?. She had diarrhea when she left the hospital. I?m sure you could buy them or find something similar in a surgical place but it was a last minute thought for me so I had to do what I did. I also bought bathroom wipes.
I also bought her some panty shields if she had a problem and she wore them for the first week home."

The hospital throws them away after a patient leaves. They usually offer them to the patient to take home. If they don't offer, ask.
 

Ashkir

Active member
Joined
Jun 10, 2008
Messages
40
Location
Bakersfield, CA United States.
My first surgery when I was eight, I slept inbetween my mom and step dad. They stay very still in bed, however, I don't. I move. I kick. I tear apart beds, always have. My mom had to go out and buy me a bunch of applesause and gummy bears. I had a hard time eating other foods at first, and I got mad at my nurses in the hospital for sneaking in pills. It always made my food taste funny, as I ate very slowly. But, the applesause had no taste change, when the doctor suggested it it worked great.

My second surgery, happened when I was twelve. I made a remarkable recovery. However, my brother went to stay with one of my old teachers, and family friend while I recovered. Me and my brother shared a room. My step dad moved the beds together and my mom slept on my side so I had wall on one side and her on the other.

Third surgery, nineteen years old. My mom replaced my bed back at home (I moved out at age eighteen) with a queen bed. She slept on one side, and I on the end. I never fall off. To this day I still toss and turn and tear apart my bed. My childhood dog knocked off my pillows, so I used him as a pillow, and he wrapped his tail around my neck. Any time I rolled on my side he started growling and barking at me and my mom woke me up to get me back on my back. Not an easy task. I had no idea how the dog knew. When I first came home both the dogs were jumping all over me.

My childhood dog barely touched my chest and it hurt like hell. I screamed in pain, and pushed him down. He hasn't touched my chest since then and started crying. :[. But, he never left my side while I was recovering. My brother's dog however, we had to keep her seprated or leashed down as she kept trying to jump on me or jumping on the bed, or recliner. She doesn't sit on laps, she likes to get on your chest and lay down. My childhood dog, however, lays on your lap, side, or under your head, or next to the furtinature you are on.


So all in all, useful things to have:

- If you roll over, move, kick, tear up beds, good idea to have something to block you on both sides. Recliners work great.
- Little kids and pills don't mix well. Some adults too. Applesause is a great way to swallow pills without flavor being effected.
- Have easy open caps on medicine bottles. Fun tip: Many medicine bottle caps are interchangable. Upside down = easy open. Regular side up = childlock. Walgreens caps for sure have this.
- Easy to chew on food.
- A very soft stuffed animal or pillow. Very useful to squeeze against your chest when having a coughing fit.
- Many dogs are smart. They'd realize that the chest is hurting and will avoid it. Having an animal when not feeling well is a great feeling. Just keep them clean, and their nails trimmed.
- Thickeners. You may need them when liquid is too thin. For some reason, the only thing I was able to swallow for a little over a month was very cold creamy food, like icecream. Or very warm soups, with a very thick broth.

For entertainment; a tv subscription package is nice. I know many parents don't have it for their kids. But get it. It is really helpful to help time pass by. My stepdad loves tv, so luckily, I had access to it. Also, try to limit the shows other kids, and adults in the house watch. As the person who just had the surgery will just go do something else. My step dad loves NCIS and Law and Order, luckily, I do as well.

Crafts help as well. My mom's friend from work came over and taught me how to make keychains, necklaces, bracelets, and other types of jewelry. She taught me how to mend medal, make locks, etc. It was a great experience and it really helped me regaining control of my left hand. I am ambidextrous, and I lost my ability to use my left hand after surgery. (Got some nerve damage; which is a side effect).

Lies. According to my surgeon, lying during this time isn't a really good idea. It is usually better for the truth straight out.

Sleep. It is common for people who just had surgery to fall asleep or take many naps during the day. Try not to wake him if you are sure nothing is wrong.

Cleaning. Try to vacuum and dust rooms the person who just had surgery is not in. Also, if you have a shower, and bathtub, have the patient use the bathtub. For some time the scar cannot get wet. The bathtub allows the patient to sit as well. Get a mat or something to hold the grip so it won't be slippery on the bottom. Let the person who had surgery be involved in it, to feel if the water is hot enough or not, it is really soothing at the right temperature.

Shampoo. sometimes it is safer to not shampoo the hair and use water. There are waterless shampoos for sell. Get a bottle or two of it. It works wonders.

Fun activities help enrich the life, and provides hope and strength. A smile goes a long way when recovering.

--

I had a cellphone at my side, and when I was alone and was in pain I texted my brother. He wouldn't leave my mom or stepdad alone until he was assured I was okay. My mom moved her computer that everyone uses to my room, so I was very rarely alone. So when something happened, someone would notice quickly.
 

vhmoriarty

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Knoxville, Tennessee
What about the walkers that have the seats. I think that would be a good idea, just in case you get dizzy and need to sit down you will be able to. Also you are still up walking with some assistance. This may come in handy for people that wont have someone with them at all times.
 

Ashkir

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Jun 10, 2008
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40
Location
Bakersfield, CA United States.
What about the walkers that have the seats. I think that would be a good idea, just in case you get dizzy and need to sit down you will be able to. Also you are still up walking with some assistance. This may come in handy for people that wont have someone with them at all times.
Very true. xD. I wish I would've had one. o.o. I just had wheelcheers and those things sure are hard to control in houses that have hefty carpet. ><.

My dog did defend me. He wouldn't let anyone near my chest, and wouldn't let the other dog (that likes to jump) anywhere near me while I was recovering.

Dogs are helpful! I had a chinchilla for my last surgery, and a guinea pig.

My doctor said make sure the pets are clean before I play with them. My old rodents will scratch my friends and family, and bite. But my precious rodents never even tried to attack me. :3.

So pets can be good! But check with the doctor, I'd say.
 

Jkm7

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Oct 15, 2005
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Massachusetts
What about the walkers that have the seats. I think that would be a good idea, just in case you get dizzy and need to sit down you will be able to. Also you are still up walking with some assistance. This may come in handy for people that wont have someone with them at all times.



Unless you normally have mobility issues, a walker isn't reallyt that good idea. You should be trying to stand as straight as you can (good posture) and putting weight on your arms isn't a good idea. Certainly if you always use a walker or your doctor advises it for stability while you are healing, your doctor knows best.

Two OHS and I never felt any need or use for a walker.
 

Luana

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I live alone and the first day had the cordless phone next to me at all times; however, after several phone calls and handset not being recharged, battery got low, so if you a have a phone that has more than one handset and charger, that's probably a good idea. Caller ID is good, too, so you can screen your calls. I turn the ringer off when I want to nap. That's why there's voice mail, right? Don't feel like you have to answer every call and talk a lot. While I've been glad to talk to most friends and relatives, there's been times that a phone call of more than a few minutes can really be tiring.

iPod has been great for music and podcasts, and a radio with a remote is good, too. I also have an old Walkman that sometimes I take to bed when I nap and listen to as I fall asleep. Extra batteries are good idea, too. I have extra batteries for the computer's cordless keyboard and mouse, as I would not want to be without those now.

Lip balm is a necessity! I think most women will appreciate wonderful smelling soap and shampoo, hand lotion and/or foot cream, though obviously, you don't want to be smearing anything on your chest. After about two days in the hospital, I really became aware of how wonderful anyone who came in contact with me smelled because they were bathed and clean and I wasn't.

If it's winter or cool, flannel sheets are great. They're wonderfully cozy, and are about as far removed from hospital sheets as you can get, and they help your warm up if you're chilled. I also keep a small blanket that I can put just on my shoulders in bed so I don't get weighted down with the quilt and an extra blanket. I seem to have two body temperatures since the surgery: ice cube or baked potato. Layers are good; when you're cold you don't want to start to shiver, and if you get too warm, you can always take something off.

While the overall big picture of having the house in order and things convenient is important, little things sure mean a lot, too.
 
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