It’s the most common word used when I ask new caregivers how the preparation is going for getting them ready to go home. You’re put on the spot as your child’s new home health coordinator (because let’s face it, that’s what you are), and the majority of parents aren’t coming from a medical background, so it’s a scary responsibility to have.
So let’s take a little of that weight off of your shoulders and tell you a few things to expect, and give you some tips and tricks to make the transition home a little easier.
– As you are arranging your child’s room think about where you plan on placing the equipment. The amount of space you need will depend on the amount of equipment you are bringing home, and the mobility of your child. If you know what equipment you will be going home with, you can look at the different pieces on the link below to get an idea on how much space you will need.
– Make sure you will have easy access to as many power outlets as you will need for the equipment. Do NOT use extension cords for any medical equipment, power strips are fine.
– Have a list of all emergency numbers for your child posted somewhere convenient and clearly visible in your home. This is extremely helpful for outside help, such as nursing or other secondary caregivers.
– Make sure to keep all of your home passageways clear, including entrances and exits, in case of emergency, so first responders have easy access to your child. You also want to be able to quickly and safely be able to respond to your child’s equipment needs in a power outage.
– Speaking of power outages, you can inform your power company that you have a child coming home on medical equipment. You also want to make sure you have plenty of emergency battery operated lighting such as flashlights or lanterns to check all of the equipment.
– To help outside caregivers coming into your home, make sure your house numbers are visible from the street, so your location is easy to find.
– Keep your pest control up to date. Bugs love the environments medical equipment produce, and warranties and insurance do not cover equipment replacements due to bug infestation. Yearly treatment is just fine, unless you notice a problem. If you are unable to provide pest control, let one of your resources ( social worker, DME, case worker, ect.) know so steps can be taken to protect your child and the equipment, and prevent you from any unexpected out of pocket costs.
– Storage for weekly supplies is a huge time saver. You will be getting all of your supplies for the entire month at one time. It’s difficult to find that one small thing you are looking for, when it could be in one of eight boxes. We have noticed that the plastic rolling bins with drawers or an over the door shoe organizer are for organizing supplies.
– Having a readily available schedule or routine for you and other caregivers to follow helps the day to day tasks run much smoother. Dry erase boards seem to be the favorite, since so many things with medically fragile kiddos change constantly.
– It’s a great idea to always keep a notepad nearby, to jot down any questions or concerns for your healthcare team. You have a full plate, remembering that one question you had 2 weeks ago is not going to be your brains priority.
– Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. You have a healthcare TEAM, because we are all here for you and your family. It takes a village remember?
– It’s also a great idea to familiarize as many other family members with the equipment as possible. The more people you have comfortable with your child and their equipment, the more help and relief you will have.
– Don’t forget to take care of yourself too! Your child needs you at your best, so if you need help, don’t ever be afraid to ask. If you don’t know who to ask, just pick someone and they can probably direct you to the right person.
– You WILL rearrange your child’s room and supplies multiple times before you find the arrangement that works best for you and your child.
I hope some of these tips help you ease into the transition home. Don’t forget you have an entire team from multiple places cheering you on! You CAN do this, and you WILL be an amazing caregiver.
We are a phone call away if you need us.