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Making Your Home Safe for Medical Care

At newmedsupplies.com, we want to make sure that your home medical treatment is done conveniently and safely. Many of our client/patients are limited in strength, or unsteady on their feet. Some are wheelchair - or bed-bound. The purpose of the following is to give our clients some easy and helpful tips on how to make the home safe for home care.

Fire Safety and Prevention

  •  Smoke detectors should be installed in your home. Make sure you check the batteries at least once a year.
  • If appropriate, you may consider carbon monoxide detectors as well. Ask your local fire department if you should have one in your home.
  • Have a fire extinguisher in your home, and have it tested regularly to make sure it is still charged and in working order.
  • Have a plan for escape in the event of a fire. Discuss this plan with your family.
  • If you use oxygen in your home, make sure you understand the hazards of smoking near oxygen. Review the precautions. If you aren’t sure, ask your oxygen provider what they are.
  • If you are using electrical medical equipment, make sure to review the instruction sheets for that equipment. Read the section on electrical safety.

Electrical Safety

  • Make sure that all medical equipment is plugged into a properly grounded electrical outlet.
  • If you have to use a three-prong adapter, make sure it is properly installed by attaching the ground wire to the plug outlet screw.
  • Use only good quality outlet “extenders” or “power strips” with internal Circuit breakers. Don’t use cheap extension cords.

Safety in the Bathroom

  • Because of the smooth surfaces, the bathroom can be a very dangerous place, especially for persons who are unsteady.
  • Use non-slip rugs on the floor to prevent slipping.
  • Install a grab-bar on the shower wall, and non-slip footing strips inside the tub or shower.
  • Ask your medical equipment provider about a shower bench you can sit on in the shower.
  • If you have difficulty sitting and getting up, ask about a raised toilet seat with arm supports to make it easier to get on and off the commode.
  • If you have problems sensing hot and cold, you should consider lowering the temperature setting of your water heater so you don’t accidentally scald yourself without realizing it.

Safety in the Bedroom
It’s important to arrange a safe, well-planned and comfortable bedroom since a lot of your recuperation and home therapy may occur there.

  • Ask your home medical provider about a hospital bed. These beds raise and lower so you can sit up, recline, and adjust your knees. A variety of tables and supports are also available so you can eat, exercise, and read in bed.
  • Bed rails may be a good idea, especially if you have a tendency to roll in bed at night.
  • If you have difficulty walking, inquire about a bedside commode so you don’t have to walk to the bathroom to use the toilet.
  • Make sure you can easily reach the light switches, and other important things you might need through the day or night.
  • Install night-lights to help you find your way in the dark at night.
  • If you are using an IV pole for your IV or enteral therapy, make sure that all furniture, loose carpets, and electrical cords are out of the way so you do not trip and fall while walking with the pole.

Safety in the Kitchen
Your kitchen should be organized so you can easily reach and use the common items, especially during your recuperation while you are still a bit weak:

  • Have a friend or health care worker remove all common small appliances and utensils from cabinets, and place them on your counters where you can easily use them.
  • Have a chair brought into the kitchen to the counter work area if you have difficulty standing.
  • Make sure you are careful lifting pots and pans. Not only might they be hot, but they can be heavy as well. Use padded mitts to firmly grasp pans and pots on both sides.

Ask your kitchen or hardware store about utensils for manually impaired or arthritic persons, including:
• Basic electric can openers
• Bottle and jar openers
• Large-handled utensils
When working at your stove, be very careful that intravenous, tube feeding tubing, or oxygen tubing do not hang over the heat. They can be flammable.

Getting Around Safely
If you are now using assistant devices for ambulating (walking), here are some key points:

  • Install permanent or temporary guardrails on stairs to give you additional support if you are using a cane or are unsteady.
  • If you are using a walker, make sure that furniture and walkways are arranged to give you enough room.
  • If you are using a walker or wheelchair, you may need a ramp for getting into or out of the house. Ramps can be purchased ready-made, or may be constructed for you. Talk to your home medical equipment provider about available options.