Turning home into a hospital
by Dr John Winsor - The Sunday Times of Malta


A lot of people sent home after a spell in hospital may be recovering from an accident, operation or illness.

Or, more commonly — and this can be much more of a problem — the patient may be ‘suffering’ from no more than age.

In any case, there’s going to be an upset in the homestead. You may be given a lot of help by a district nurse or home help a few hours a week, but make no mistake, you may be in for rather a rough time.

If the condition which keeps the patient in the bedroom is likely to last for a long time, it is worth going to a lot of trouble to get them fixed up with a bed downstairs.

Of course, there are houses where this is impossible, but a patient’s first objection is usually the lack of a loo. In this case it is worth putting a commode in the room or an adjoining room.

A downstairs bedroom saves an enormous amount of legwork and stair climbing for the carer. Food is easier to serve and it reaches the patient while still moderately hot. Almost everyone who has done a stint of upstairs nursing for a long time has dropped at least one lot of food on the stairs.

Also, if the patient is downstairs, they often feel better for being in contact with the rest of the home, unless they are very ill.

Simply placing them near a window which is not draughty will allow them to see what is going on outside. A portable radio or television is also essential for most invalids to keep them entertained.

If the patient is a youngster with homework to do, try to keep a bedroom warm enough for the child to work in.

Finally, don’t cart all the flowers out of the temporary bedroom every night. The idea that they use up the patient’s oxygen must date back to the days before oxygen was discovered.

It is also a good idea to keep an air freshener in the room as the unhealthy human can sometimes affect the bouquet of the room rather badly!