Whether you’re planning on a C-section to deliver a baby or require major surgery like gallbladder removal, recovery is hard enough without finding that your home gets in the way. We’ll address practical steps you can take to make your home accessible and manageable without spending a lot of money. Here are 4 tips for making your home recovery as smooth as possible.
Everything on One Level
Climbing stairs is physically demanding and potentially impossible for someone recovering from surgery. The best option is making arrangements so the patient can access everything they need on one floor, ideally in a small space. This may mean that a parent stays in a child’s bedroom next to the first-floor bathroom instead of the upstairs master bedroom. Or you can move everything the adult needs upstairs like snacks, drinks and entertainment so they don’t have to come downstairs at all. This second case is only an option if you can safely get up the stairs once but don’t want to have to come back down until you’re better.
Buy Overbed Tables
You should consider investing in an overbed table if you’re going to be in bed most of the time or have limited mobility. Leave your glasses and water on the overbed table for easy access when you wake up. You never have to worry about falling out of bed or straining something as you reach over to a bedside table. Fancier overbed tables are not just a flat tray over someone’s bed; they can be found with electrical outlets, drawers and larger surfaces so someone stuck in bed can work on their laptop computer. If the baby is in the bassinet beside Mom, an overbed table could hold wipes, pacifiers and other essentials so Mom doesn’t have to get up to go get it while she’s still recovering.
Stock Your Pantry
If you’re recovering from surgery, waddling into the kitchen to stand over a pot for half an hour may be beyond you. And you may not have the ability to move items from the freezer to the oven or slow cooker. The best solution is stocking your pantry. Shelf stable foods that require no cooking like soups and pasta you can eat from the container are ideal. No prep snacks are a great choice, whether you want apple sauce in a tube or a large box of single serve snack crackers. Focus on shelf-stable so you don’t have to worry about anything expiring if it sits in the fridge too long or going bad if you go to bed and leave it on the counter.
The side benefit of buying shelf-stable meals like soups, canned pasta or food bars is that you’ll be able to eat it all over the next few months if you didn’t eat it during your recovery. Don’t forget to stock up on single serve drinks you can drink when you have limited mobility and coordination. For example, buy plenty of single serve water bottles instead of trying to handle a large water cooler. Buy juice boxes instead of trying to pour from a large container into a cup. Another reason to stock your pantry in advance is that it eliminates the need to go to the store before you’re ready to drive by yourself.
If the person recovering is on a different floor than the main pantry, put a stock of snacks and drinks in their room so they don’t have to wait on others or try to come down the stairs.
Clean up before you go in for surgery. Remove all the clutter from the floor so there’s nothing you could trip on. Do all the laundry so that you don’t have to do it again for a while. You’ll feel a lot better if you’re getting into clean sheets when you get home. If possible, do the dishes – and stock up on paper plates and plastic cutlery so you don’t have to do dishes during your recovery. If you have others in the household that rely on your housekeeping, like little kids, consider hiring a housekeeper in addition to childcare help.
If you want your recovery to be as comfortable as possible, follow some of the tips in this article. Put everything on one level so you don’t have to climb stairs. Use overbed tables so you can remain in bed as long as possible. Stock your pantry, and if the patient is on a different level, have items in their room. Clean up as much as possible before the surgery, and consider having others do the housework until after you’ve recovered.