How to Set Up a Home Health Room That Feels Like Home
Aging, chronic illness, and other medical conditions may require specialized equipment and a change to your home or bedroom—but your home health care set-up does not have to feel like a hospital room.
Health at Home
November is National Family Caregivers Month. It’s a time to celebrate caregivers, bring attention to caregiving issues, educate communities, and show support for home health care providers.
When health and healing start at home, the environment must be reconfigured or items must be purchased to create a practical living space for those with medical requirements. Chronic illnesses can affect people of any age, so home care patients might be young or elderly. Additionally, people are living longer, and more of them want to age in place.
Even with the presence of medical devices, a home should feel comfortable—it’s not a hospital, after all. Consider these factors when creating a home health room to satisfy the need for care and the need for comfort.
A doctor will help select which oxygen device will work best for each individual. When setting up a home health care room, it’s important that everyone in the house knows where the oxygen is located, and it can be accessed easily. While you might be tempted to tuck an unsightly oxygen tank out of sight, it’s best to leave it out and easily accessible. You’ll also want to secure at-home tanks to a fixed object that won’t cause a tripping or falling hazard.
As it is highly flammable, alert the local fire department that you are storing oxygen in your home. It’s also important that everyone in the house goes through oxygen safety training.
When choosing a hospital bed for the home it’s important to consider why it’s needed and what will work best for the person who needs it. Hospital beds are adjustable and have special features to help take care of the individual.
Make a hospital bed feel like home by putting some bright or patterned bedding on it, or add some decorative throw pillows. Feel free to add other comfort items, like stuffed animals, to make it look less like it belongs in a hospital. One note of warning: However you make the bed, be sure to avoid adding any elements that can hinder the mechanics or reduce functionality.
A rolling cart is a practical addition to a health room. It stores many of the required medical supplies and enables caregivers to conveniently wheel these items around a room or between rooms in the home. Rolling carts often have multiple shelves or compartments—keep the most often used items at the top for easier access.
You can choose a cart based on aesthetic as well as function. For example, who’s to say a rolling kitchen serving cart can’t be transformed into a mobile medical supply station? We like this wood-topped rolling cart with shelves, cabinet space, and a towel rack available on Amazon. While not in use, it has a furniture look, but it’s movable from room to room.
Bedside Table on Wheels
A height-adjustable side table on wheels gives the person in the bed a stable space to eat or work, and it won’t be knocked over if they move around.
To make the side table suit the style of the room, you can spray paint the metal, and add contact paper or a vinyl covering to the tabletop. A bed tray that can tilt is also useful for propping up books or tablets, like this tilt top overbed table on Amazon.
The bedroom isn’t the only area that needs to be considered when setting up a home health care space. Bathroom safety and preparation gives a person autonomy, and may offer them the ability to handle some of their personal care without assistance.
You may need to add bars in the bathtub, a special seat with bars on the toilet, bath transfer seats, and more. Preventing slips is also important for everyone—not just those who require a home health room. Add a brightly colored bath mat in the tub for extra grip and aesthetic appeal. We like this machine washable tub mat, named best mat for a shower bath on our list of best bath mats.
Plants and Florals
Plants are a quick way to add a welcoming touch to any space—they bring color and life into the room. Many lovely houseplants are available, and you can select varieties that thrive with very little care, such as a ZZ plant or pothos.
Not only do plants make a space feel cozier, but they also come with health benefits. Plants can reduce stress levels, improve air quality, and help boost productivity.
Pictures add an incredibly personal touch to a health room. Fill the space with happy faces of loved ones and fond memories that evoke a smile. Not only are the photos special, but the picture frames can add extra style to the room.
Short on table space? Create a calendar with pictures of family and friends, and every month the photos will change with fresh new images to admire. Or create a gallery wall with multiple framed photos organized in a pattern with this set of black frames and a hanging pattern available on Amazon and a top pick in our list of best picture frames for a gallery wall.
Many hospital rooms are lacking in the natural lighting department. Adding this element to a home health care room can really minimize the similarities between home and hospital. Open the blinds or drapes as much as possible to let the sun’s vitamin D come in through the window. Sunlight is also a natural mood booster, which is always beneficial when someone isn’t feeling well. Additionally, if the window faces sunrise or sunset, you’re sure to see some natural beauty overtake the sky.
In hospitals, everything seems flat: the colors, the shapes, and even the feeling of the room. Granted, these rooms are intended to be a sterile environment for patients, but this lack of style isn’t usually a requirement in a home health room.
Kids especially love interesting textures and textiles—the Dec My Room program, which provides personalized decorating for kids in the hospital, shows just how much impact room design can have on long-term patients. Visual and tactile elements make a place feel more comfortable. Add a rug, a fuzzy blanket, or sequin mermaid pillows. These pieces can showcase the patient’s personality, and they’re easy to change as the child’s style aesthetic matures.
Some patients require health care devices to stay safe and track numbers at home instead of having to go to a medical facility. Monitors, sensors, and telemetry devices account for the largest share of the global market for home medical equipment. There are many options for home monitoring equipment, and a doctor or pharmacist can help you determine which devices are necessary for your home health room.
When setting up any medical device, make sure you can access it quickly should something happen. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to make these devices more aesthetically pleasing other than pull focus away from the machine with room decor that expresses the individual’s personality.
Your home health care room must be accessible for the person who needs it. During setup, consider the unique needs of the user—especially if they have issues with mobility or use a mobility aid. Walk around the space and make sure both the patient and the caretaker will have an easy time getting around, keeping in mind any physical limitations and safety issues. All items in the room should be accessible. Remember to consider the reach required and if items are too high or low to grab. If something is in the way, rearrange the space until it works.
With so much technology at our fingertips, a home health care room is the perfect place to use it. Smart technology aids in accessibility and makes it extremely easy to adjust room settings with voice activated controls or smartphone apps. For example, smart light bulbs not only turn on or off with your voice, but can dim or change colors too. We like the Philips Hue Smart Button Light Starter Kit on Amazon—we rated it best overall on our list of best smart light bulbs. The more comfortable you are with technology, the more devices you can set up to work with just your voice to make it easier when you need the extra help.