Providing care at home also comes with the task of managing a lot of supplies. We asked some families for their best tricks and tips when it comes to keeping supplies organized and sanitary. Here's what they said!
Organizing a Care Room
Some families provide care in various places around their home, some use their child's bedroom, and some have a designated care room where all of the tasks take place.
"One thing we did is to have a separate bedroom and "care" room. So we connect, disconnect, change dressing, etc in Mark's care room. It is nice for Mark to have that separate space. We used to have just one room but we talked to other parents with TPN dependent kids and this is what they recommended. Mark loves being able to have a space away from his extra care. The other thing I did is to use color coded containers (for example: blue is catheter supplies, brown is osteomy supples, etc.). This just makes everything easier to locate and put away for me."
-Amber, Mother to Mark
"We don't have a procedure room and do things where we are at the time. Now we only use a Foley overnight so I do that in Addie's bed (she prefers we do it when she is sleeping). As a baby I would do it anywhere. We unhook/hook TPN on the go or where she is. "
-Christine, Mother to Addie
We have a regular dresser for medical supplies, a kitchen sized garbage can and we put in a hand sanitizer in our bathroom and his care room. We also put in paper towel containers like they have in the hospital.
"You will want a kitchen sized trash can in her room that you can open with your foot for clean or sterile procedures. A lot of the waste generated is paper or plastic from wrappers so you might want a separate can for recyclables."
"The table on the right is a daycare type changing table because our son outgrew his regular changing table and this way I don't have to bend way over to change his dressing. We use a small, dorm sized refrigerator that is only for TPN as well and on top a little container for used syringes. The black cart has a stainless steel top for cleanliness."
"For fridges I would suggest a larger fridge. We quickly outgrew the small fridges and now have a larger fridge in the garage that I feel we won't outgrow. It also provides extra freezer space. Addison is 6 years old and gets more than 3 liters of TPN! Eight 3 liter bags take up lots of room." -Christine, Mother to Addison
In the green containers I have all catheter supplies, blue is all osteomy that I'm using currently and extra soaps, and the top drawer has all his saline and heparin currently using with alcohol wipes and tubing.
"Here's a drawer in the dresser...the ziplock bags on the left are all individual dressing change kits so I can grab and it is already to go. The stuff on the right is extra. The two drawers below this have extra TPN related supplies and Foley catheter supplies."
"This is the top right dresser drawer and this is all the extra osteomy supplies...the two drawers under this are the same just extra ostomy supplies for me to rotate."
"This is kind of what the closet looks like ... I put everything else in boxes or Tupperware containers that can clearly be labeled with what is inside and I always put the date so I can rotate a lot easier."
Repurposed Over the Door Shoe Organizers
"This was something our nursing company recommended and it has worked really well. We use those over the door shoe organizers with clear pockets to help keep things in Elizabeth's room organized."
-Jessica, Mother to Elizabeth
"This is the back of the door to Elizabeth's room and is easily reachable when stands no at the changing table. We keep ostomy and cath supplies here as well as flushes. We also use keep a plastic organizer thing by the changing table. It has different sized drawers so we can keep alcohol wipes, gloves, and tape handy."
"These photos are the inside of Elizabeth's closet. We keep tubing, syringes, and other miscellaneous things here."
"Never turn down supplies! We try to keep 1-2 weeks of extra supplies on hand when possible. This gives us a little bit of cushion for traveling, in case there is a shortage of something, or something is faulty or gets contaminated. We've also had instances where the weather was iffy and made delivery difficult."
Plastic Containers with Drawers
"We have our supplies in large plastic containers that have drawers and we label the outside. "
Sarah, Mother to Ava
"As for supplies, I keep catheter supplies in underbed boxes in her room. She has a daybed and it has lots of room underneath. I also have one of those plastic two drawer organizers for ostomy supplies, diapers and anything else."
Christine, Mother to Addison