Creating a Comfortable Bedroom Environment for Your Homecare Patients
Chronically ill, disabled, and elderly patients are increasingly opting for hospice and palliative care that keeps them in the home space with which they are familiar and where they can live with a sense of dignity. However, during the covid crisis, the need for homecare of those not critically ill has increased and spans age ranges. That means we all have the potential of caring for someone ill in our homes and for trying to create a space that makes them feel most comfortable.
What then can you do to prepare a bedroom space for patients that offers them comfort, provides dignity, and keeps them safe? Here are a few things you can do.
Anything you can do to make the room more inviting and connect them to the things they love is important to keeping the patient calm and comfortable. Putting up new curtains, bringing in a few plants, and making sure favorite items are visible in the room help maintain that sense of home. It’s also a good idea to place photos of family members and friends where the patient can see them to keep that sense of connection with those they love.
Minimizing the hospital feel of a room is also important. There will, of course, be some medical supplies that will be essential to keep handy, but anything that is not of immediate use can be stored nearby but out of sight.
Foremost as a concern for comfort is the bed in which the patient will sleep. If the bed is a regular bed, consider the types and numbers of blankets that need to be handy to maintain a comfortable temperature. You may need to have extra pillows on hand as well to prop the patient up in a comfortable position.
Having a bed table where the patient can keep essentials, such as glasses, medications, tissues, hearing aids, and beverages, will provide an extra level of comfort and self-reliance. You may also need an over table bed or lap desk so that the patient can eat in bed, read, or perform other tasks.
Other issues such as light levels, noise, and temperature can detract from or add to the patient’s level of comfort. It is important to regularly check in with the patient to see if there are adjustments they need. Have a fan in the room to provide air movement and cool things off if necessary. Better yet, we live in an age where most things are electronic. If the patient has a reasonable ability to do things for themselves, installing remote control blinds, lighting, and even temperature controls can offer them some self-reliance that builds a strong sense of dignity.
Safety is vital for both the patient and the caregiver. In setting up the room, remove unnecessary clutter and get rid of tripping hazards such as rugs and cords. Installing night lights in critical areas, such as near the bathroom or around spaces where medical equipment must be used can help prevent late night accidents. Many caregivers install call buttons for emergencies or in case the patient needs something when alone.
In cases of hospice or long-term care, though, it may be necessary to install a homestyle hospital bed that can be adjusted to suit patients needs and comfort. These adjustable beds are made with barriers designed aptly to prevent patients the opportunity to roll off of one side or the other. You will also want to be sure that both sides of the bed are accessible for caregivers, so you may need to remove some furnishings that block access or consider a smaller bed in rooms where a large bed takes up too much space.
While some patients will need quiet and rest, others are likely to get bored during the long hours spent in bed. There are many ways to provide entertainment and not everyone requires a television. Small touches such as putting a few bird feeders outside the bedroom window can provide that touch of nature and an easy distraction.
With tablets, patients can have laptop access to a whole library of reading, video games, word games, puzzles, drawing and coloring programs, and news to keep them busy. Installing a voice prompted smart speaker can be a great way to offer weaker patients access to music, internet entertainment, and more. It also offers them the ability to control when and what they listen to so they can have quiet when they need it and companionship when they want it.