Now that you’ve seen the signs of needing at-home care, weighed all the options, and compared pros and cons, you’ve made the decision that in-home care is the best solution for you and your family. Whether the in-home care is for yourself, an aging family member, or someone recovering from surgery, the need is the same: someone needs to come over every day and assist with daily activities. Deciding on the type of care needed leads to preparing the house appropriately. Every attempt must be made to accommodate the patient and the at-home medical professional who will be caring for your family member. Knowing how to prepare for home health care will make the transition smooth and easy.
Prepare the Home
Get the house ready to accommodate the restricted movement of the patient. Mobility for the elderly is limited, and they can’t get around like they used to. Do the little things to make it easier for them and the caregiver. Illuminate outdoor walkways and steps, keep them clear, and make them easy to see at night with a sturdy hand railing. Check the functionality of the carbon monoxide and smoke detectors monthly. Footing is not always secure and trips happen, so put nonslip tape underneath any rugs in the house. Make sure that any phones in the house are easily accessible and that emergency numbers are programmed into them. A written list near the main phone should provide emergency contact info as well.
Prepare Instructions for the Caregiver
The caregiver is an educated, medical professional, but they don’t know everything about the house and the person they will be caring for. There will be an adjustment period while they get familiar with the ebb and flow of the home and patient. Try to ease the transition by walking the caregiver through the house on the first day and preparing lists of all pertinent information. Be ready to answer any and all questions they might have. Lists should include the following:
- Individuals who have house keys
- An emergency contact list
- A current list of doctors
- List of medications
- List of expected duties. The more detailed the better.
- Assign a place for their belongings or where they will stay in 24-hour-care situations
Prepare the Patient
Make sure the person receiving the care is aware of the new situation and is comfortable with it. Tell them that someone will be coming into the house every day, or living with them, to help them and tend to their needs. This is important for dementia patients and people with cognitive disabilities, as changes to their routines and surroundings can be traumatic for them. If possible, schedule a meeting between all parties ahead of time so they can get acquainted and make things more comfortable for everyone.