Chapter 5: Getting prepared: Safety and risks

Introduction

I thought I was ready but then I had to reorganize things. I put a chair by the door so Rasha could sit when she came in; I remove a mat because she might trip; I asked her brother to not smoke in the house when he visited…

Providing care in the home means looking at the home and home situation in a different way. In addition to all of the functions the home currently has, it is now a place where care is being provided to someone who is seriously ill. You may also want to consider some lifestyle shifts to potentially make you and the patient feel more comfortable and minimize stressful encounters or situations.

This chapter will explore different aspects for you to assess (within your living space and for your lifestyle) and identify if you need to alter anything to make caregiving safer and more comfortable.

And then what?

When you identify a potential risk or an opportunity for a modification in your routine or surroundings, either to enhance comfort or ease your stress or workload, you will probably want to take action. A good first step is to discuss the change with one of the members of your healthcare team, especially for changes that involve assessing the identified safety risk or anything involving patient care. This is especially important if you need to make any modifications to your home.