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Clutter in a Patient's Room
Advice from Jill Ellen Shankar

Q. We have a family member recovering from surgery in our home. His bedroom is a mess with medical supplies, food and water trays, and the usual clutter of a bedroom.

Do you have any suggestions to make it more organized and less hectic while he recovers?

Also, visitors want to see him and they need a place to sit, etc. We want him to see his flowers and cards but there is no room. Help!

A. I'm glad you're focused on getting this room organized, since it is always in a patient's best interest to have a clean, uncluttered and peaceful space in which to recover.

First off, get rid of anything in the room that you are not using. While this may create a clutter issue elsewhere, it is critical for recovery. For instance, can you store some of the medical supplies in a container in a different room, or perhaps under the bed?

Similarly, if there is other furniture in the room that was being used before, like bookshelves, that are not essential now, try to get them out temporarily. Or, remove the books and use the shelves to hold the medicines, flowers and cards.

Also consider purchasing units that offer countertop and storage space, or that attach to the wall to save floor space. There are all kinds of inexpensive items at your local home center and discount stores.

Lastly, can the visitor's chair be tucked away in a corner, or kept in a different room, when no one is there? This will also open up some free space. (Be sure that the chair is not doubling as a storage unit-this just makes it more difficult to move it around when needed.)

Please do what you can to make this room cheery, sunny and full of open air. Believe it or not, the freedom and comfort will go a long way in aiding recovery.



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