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Your Home Health Center


Topic Overview

More of your health care takes place in your home than anywhere else. Having the right tools, medicines, supplies, and information on hand will improve the quality of your self-care.

Self-care tools are the basic equipment of your home health center. Store all your self-care tools and supplies in a central location, such as a large drawer in the bedroom or family room. Use the lists of tools and supplies in this topic as checklists for keeping your home health center stocked. It's a good idea to keep all your family's medical records in one place, such as in your home health center. For information on organizing these records, see the topic Organizing Your Medical Records.

Be familiar with the disaster preparation and response plan for your area. Keep the appropriate supplies on hand. For more information on preparedness and recommended supplies, see the topic Terrorism and Other Public Health Threats.

Note:

If small children are around, keep your supplies out of reach or stored in containers or cabinets with childproof safety latches.

It's important to keep the name and phone number of your doctor and pharmacy handy. Also, post the poison control phone number (1-800-222-1222) in a place where all of your household members can easily find it.

Cold Pack

A cold pack is a plastic envelope filled with gel that remains flexible at very cold temperatures. Buy two cold packs, and keep them in the freezer. Use them for bumps, bruises, back sprains, turned ankles, sore joints, or any other health problem that calls for ice. A cold pack is more convenient than ice and may become the self-care tool you use the most.

You can make your own cold pack:

  • Mix 3 cups (710 mL) water and 1 cup (235 mL) rubbing alcohol in a freezer bag.
  • Seal the bag and place it in the freezer until slush forms.
  • Refreeze the bag when the slush melts.

A bag of frozen vegetables will also work as a cold pack.

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