The advantage of hospital care is that all the facilities and equipment are available to your patient. Bringing them home for care means that you will need to buy or hire the right equipment to make your friend or relative comfortable. Depending on their condition, you may need a hospital-style bed, commode, shower chair, wheel chair or walking frame. Other equipment such as a blood pressure monitor or oxygen machine may also be required. Talk with your patient’s medical team about the best place to hire or buy the equipment. You will also need to consider the safety of your home. Do you have stairs that will need to be modified into ramps? You may need to consider installing a mechanical lift to assist with accessing your home. Grab rails might be necessary in the shower or the toilet, if you patient is able to walk but lacks strength. Non-slip rubber mats are also a great idea for the bathroom if you are nursing a frail or elderly relative. Meals can be a stressful part of caring for a patient. Sometimes they will have special dietary requirements, which can mean extra hours in the kitchen. If it is possible, cook only one meal for your whole family. Cooking and freezing large batches of food is also a great idea – get your family to help you prepare a stock of frozen food. Again, planning is important. Prepare a menu when you do the shopping and try to stick to it. Planning ahead for emergencies is also important. Using a baby monitor or personal alarm may be necessary so that your patient can let you know if they get into trouble during the night or when you are not in the room. Keep a list of important phone numbers – doctors, ambulance and pharmacists – by the phone, so that you or others can call for advice quickly. A medications schedule can also be helpful – you can show a medical professional what your patient is taking and when. It can also be helpful to have a back up plan for the rest of your family – if you need to rush your patient to hospital, you need to know that your children, house and pets can be cared for at short notice.