Preparing your home for the recovery period following surgery is just as important as preparing for the surgery itself. Here are a few tips for creating a comfortable, calming, and positive environment in which to heal physically and emotionally from your procedure.
Accessibility is Key
Make sure you can easily access everything you’ll need while recovering from your surgery. Ideally, you should keep everything on the same level of the house where you’ll spend most of your time. Limit using stairs to once per day. Load up on frozen dinners, canned food, and toiletries before your surgery. Place personal items within easy reach so you don’t have to bend or strain to reach them. If you don’t have a bathroom on the same floor where you will be for most of the day, invest in a portable commode or a camping toilet.
If possible, move your bed to the main floor of the house. Your bed should be low enough so that your feet rest comfortably on the floor when you’re seated at the edge of the bed. Place a firm-backed chair in the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and any other room you will need to complete your daily tasks. You should also make sure you can easily get to your phone. Consider a portable phone if you don’t have one. If you need to use a walker, affix a small bag or pouch onto it to hold a pen, notepad, and phone.
Other items you might want to have on hand are: a “grabber” to help you pick up things in hard-to-reach places; a long-handled shower sponge or loofah; a long-handled shoehorn; a cane or crutches.
Now is the time to catch up on all of those great items on your to-read list. Head to your local library and sign out as many books as you can. If you don’t have an eReader, consider investing in a Kindle or Nook so you can access your library’s electronic book collection. In many cases, you can borrow and renew books over the phone or via the library’s website.
Download a few fun games for your tablet or smartphone. A game you can play with family or friends via an Internet connection will keep you connected an entertained during your recovery. Check out Appolicious.com for a list of the best games and apps for your device.
Assess your home for tripping hazards, such as loose wires, uneven flooring, and torn carpet. If you have a lot of clutter, hire a professional cleaning service like Fuss.sg to organize the areas you’ll be using during your recovery.
Practice using your walker, wheelchair, crutches, or cane. In particular, you will need to practice different ways to get up and down the stairs, get into and out of the bath, sit down on and use the toilet or commode. Do not carry anything when walking around your home; you’ll need your hands to stabilize yourself if you lose your balance.
Consider having grab bars installed in the bathroom so you can stabilize yourself while bathing or using the toilet. Grab bars must be installed horizontally or vertically, not horizontally. Avoid using towel bars as grab bars; they are not sturdy enough to support your full weight. You should have two safety bars: one to help you stand from a sitting position and one for getting into and out of the bathtub.
Raise your toilet seat or purchase an elevated toilet safety frame. This will prevent you from flexing your knees too much when sitting on the toilet. You may find it easier to use a commode instead of a toilet.
To prevent injury when taking a shower, place non-slip decals or a rubber suction mat in the bathtub. Place shampoo bottles where they can be reached without bending, reaching, or twisting. Consider using a shower seat for added safety and stability. Make sure your shower seat is free of arms and has rubber stoppers on the tips of the legs.
Creating a calming, positive environment is an important part of successfully healing from surgery. Take some time to prepare your home now so you can spend your recovering time actually recovering. Ask your doctor, nurse, or physical therapist about other ways to get your home ready for your post-surgery return.
Steven Lee is the Co-Founder and CTO of Fuss Pte Ltd. He graduated from Nanyang Technological University in 2011 with an Honours degree in Physics. During his college days, due to the need for programming on his research and assignments, Steven became intrigued with coding and soon was commended by his professors for grasping coding and programming concepts quickly. He then found his calling in the startup scene and co-founded a fledging Singapore based startup – Jobkred and assumed the CTO role in the startup. Steven then co-founded Fuss Pte Ltd as he saw the potential value in the hygiene and hospitality-tech industry – bridging human delivered services with technology, then utilising data to anticipate, and provide a strong service experience. Steven declares Elon Musk and Steve Jobs as his personal heroes and enjoys percussion and nature walks in his free time.