Just because you are bringing your child home from the hospital following a serious illness or injury doesn't mean he or she won't still need continuing medical care. Making the change from hospital to home health care may mean needing help from medical equipment suppliers, home health nurses and aides, and other medical professionals, as your child may require more specialized care than you can offer alone. Knowing what to prepare for in advance is a critical part of your child's hospital discharge planning.
If your child will need specialized equipment, make certain there are enough electrical outlets in the rooms throughout your home where your child will be spending most of his or her time. Plan to keep a backup power supply, such as a battery or generator, on hand in case of a power outage. Talk to your insurance company to inquire whether your health plan will reimburse any portion of the cost.
Contact your utility company before your child comes home from the hospital to let the company know that your child will be using medical equipment at home, particularly if he or she needs life-sustaining equipment. Request that the company place your home on a priority list for getting the power back on if an outage occurs.
Call your local ambulance company to notify the workers there of your child's medical condition so that they will be adequately prepared if you ever need to summon their services. Keep a telephone in your child's bedroom in case your child requires emergency medical attention and you need to call 9-1-1. If an emergency arises, you won't have to leave your child's side to go to another room to call for help. It's also wise to keep the contact numbers for your child's doctors, the ambulance company, home care agency, pharmacy, medical equipment supplier, and other health professionals involved in your child's care where you can retrieve the information quickly and easily.
You may have to do some switching of rooms so that your child is located on the ground floor of your home or near a bathroom. Modifications to the bathroom may be required to make it safer for your child. Minor changes include installing grab bars by the toilet, in the shower, and near the bathroom sink.
When it comes to bathing, a hand-held shower head will make it easier for you or a home health aide to bathe your child. If your child will be disabled or you expect a prolonged recovery and can finance the change, you may want to consider replacing a step-in bathtub with a walk-in shower.
If your child will be using a wheelchair, you may need to make changes to your home so that it's wheelchair accessible. If the doorways inside your home aren't wide enough for a wheelchair to fit, you may need to hire a contractor to widen them. Renovations may be necessary if your child has become permanently disabled or will require the use of a wheelchair or walker during a long recovery period. You also may need a ramp for getting your child in and out of the house for medical appointments.
Home Health Agency
Home health agencies provide nurses, aides, therapists, and sometimes social workers to help provide the care and support your child needs. The aid you receive from a home health agency not only helps you manage your sick child's medical needs, you will feel better knowing that trained professionals are available who understand your child's condition and can assist with his or her care.
Click here for more information about home health care.