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Getting your home ready before surgery

Make time to prepare

Get your home ready for life after surgery, BEFORE you have surgery. For best results, think things through and do not wait until the last minute. Talk with your doctor, nurse, or physical therapist about getting your home prepared for after surgery.

Make a list of the items you need to buy to get your home ready.

  • Once you learn about the special diet you will follow after surgery, make a list of any foods, supplements, and cooking tools (such as a blender or food processor) you'll need to get.
  • Stock up on foods for your new diet, household items that are running low (such as trash bags and light bulbs), toilet paper, and other personal items.
  • Be sure to add any of the items described below that will help make you and your home safer after surgery.

Make it easy for yourself

Make sure everything you will need during the day is easy to get to and on the same floor where you will spend most of your time.

Make sure you can reach what you need without getting on your tiptoes or bending down low.

  • Put food and supplies you use often in a cupboard that is between your waist and shoulder level.
  • Place items you use often in the kitchen on the countertop.
  • Put clothes that you will be wearing in drawers, or on closet rods or hooks between waist and shoulder level.
  • Put a chair with a firm back in your kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and other rooms you will use so you can sit down when you do many of your daily tasks.
  • You may want to buy a "reacher" (tool with a pincer-type claw and extended handle) to help you pick up things from the floor, put on your pants, and take off your socks. You also may want to get a shoehorn with a long handle.
  • Make sure you can get to your phone. A portable phone can be helpful.

Bathroom set-up

Raise your toilet seat by adding a seat cover, raised toiled seat, or a toilet safety frame. You can also use a commode chair instead of a toilet. Be sure the commode will support your weight.

Sit on a bath or shower chair when taking a shower. Choose a chair without arms if you are putting it in a bathtub. Make sure the chair you get has rubber tips on the legs.

Protect yourself when you take a bath or shower:

  • Put a slip-proof mat or decals in the tub or shower to prevent falls.
  • Put a non-slip bath mat outside the tub for firm footing.
  • Keep the floor outside the tub or shower dry.
  • Put your soap, shampoo, and other items where you will not need to stand up, reach, or twist to get them.
  • Install hand rails in the bathtub or shower and next to the toilet.

Prevent falls

Keep tripping hazards out of your home:

  • Make sure the path into your home is clear. Remove leaves, garden tools, snow, and any other items.
  • If you park in the garage, clear the pathway from your car to the door.
  • Have good lighting.
  • Remove loose throw rugs.
  • Remove loose wires or cords from areas you walk through to get from one room to another.
  • Fix uneven flooring in doorways.

Pets that are small or move around may cause you to trip. For the first few weeks you are home, consider having your pet stay elsewhere (with a friend, in a kennel, or in the yard).

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Review Date: 1/30/2018

Reviewed By: John E. Meilahn, MD, Bariatric Surgery, Chestnut Hill Surgical Associates, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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