How to organize your child’s medical supplies; advice from parents

“Things are chaotic when you’ve got a special needs child and you’re trying to balance all the things in your life that are changing,” says Diana Johnson.

One thing you can control, though—all the special needs equipment and medical supplies required to provide home care for your technology-dependent child.

Diana’s daughter, Sarah, has Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy, and has been a PHS patient since June 2006. “We started out with a small amount of supplies,” Diana recalled, “but as Sarah became more medically complex, we found there were more and more things we needed to find a place for. I knew I needed to be more organized but didn’t know how to make that happen.”

Help in creating supply storage solutions

Diana worked with a personal care assistant and PHS to create an organized and efficient storage system, utilizing one large, central closet as the main storage space for most of Sarah’s supplies. Diana knows where to find everything, and can easily access what she needs from neatly labeled, plastic, pull-out bins, drawers and shelves—especially important in an emergency situation. Plus, she always knows what she has on hand and when she needs to reorder an item.

Watch how Diana has Sarah’s medical supplies organized:


More medical supplies, more closets for storage

Tana Wall, a PHS patient with spina bifida and other illness, requires more supplies than Sarah so mom Jill Wall uses multiple closets for storage. The closet in Tana’s room holds the most often-needed supplies. “We try to hide most of the medical supplies in her room,” says Jill, “so it looks more like a kid’s room than a hospital room, but it’s still very efficient.” Another closet is organized with supplies not routinely used every day, while yet another, located next to the bathroom, holds medical supplies that require water.

A PHS respiratory therapist helped Jill set up a bedside stand for items needed for daily care, such as suction equipment, hand sanitizer, trach supplies, dressing supplies, topical meds, blood pressure machine and nebulizer machine.

“You don’t have to spend a lot of money to organize,” she adds. “For example, I use a lot of wipes so I clean the containers and use them to store other smaller supplies.”

See Jill’s organization system:

Can you add to the conversation about organizing homecare medical supplies? Share your best medical supply organization tip or ask your most burning organization question. We’d love to hear from you.

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  • Trevor’s Mom

    To keep Trevor’s supplies organzied, we check them daily and weekly. If there are any changes, a log book is kept to help keep everyone up-to-date.

    • PHS

      Trevor’s mom, I’m glad you guys have found a system that works to keep you organized. Be sure to check back on November 15th to see if you’ve won the supplies!

  • http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/thomaslavigne Andrea LaVigne

    We have 14 years of experience with storage and it seems that we still learn as time goes by. The best thing that I can recommend is a craftsman tool chest. We keep it bedside with needed supplies (caths, saline,suction caths, diapers,wipes…..) and it makes a great working surface to keep things sterile or clean- it is on wheels so we can move it out of the way when we are not using it. We re-stock it daily with supplies from the back room. The other great thing is to buy a label maker. LABEL EVERYTHING!!!

    • PHS

      Andrea, first of all, great caring bridge site. Thomas (and your family) sure have a lot on your hands. I can imagine that organization of his many supplies is key to keeping things in order. Thanks for the tip of the craftsman tool chest, its so important that you’re able to keep that sterile and have it accessible throughout Thomas’s area since its on wheels. I have your name in for the supplies. Only a few short days until we draw for a winner. Check back on November 15th to see if your name was selected.

  • Marsha Cockrell

    We are using a Machinist tool boox It works great! A machinist tool box has many smaller drawers so we have everything with easy access plus it keeps everything looking neat and it has wheels so we can easily move it throughout the house when Rachel is out of her room. The tool box is sturdy and made from a thin metal so it is lightweight. It is bright red and we have designated each drawer with tough labels that don’t peel off. It is also easy to wipe down with control III for germs.
    In the begining we tried some cheap shelves and found out rather quickly that we should have bought our big tool box first and we would have saved a lot of money.

    • PHS

      Marsha, thanks for the insight, its great that you’ve found a system that not only helps keep you organized but is also able to move around the house with you. I’ve entered you in for the organization supplies. Check back on November 15th to see if you’ve won.

  • http://emmakissock.wordpress.com/ Robin Kissock

    We use a few different items to help us organize all of Emma’s items that she needs. 1) Shelves with plastic bins (we have the ones that most people use to organize toys); 2) The entertainment center (extra packages of diapers, wipes, etc. on one side; the TPN tubing and other little items for her central line; books on one of the bottom shelves; 3) plastic wash basins from the hospital (since she’s been in so many different times) for meds and other items; and then she has her own places in the fridge for her TPN and other meds that require refridgeration. Because of Emma’s complex issues, her getting fed via g-tube every two hours and her being on IV fluids for 18 hours a day, it was the easiest to keep everything (including her crib) in the living or kitchen.

    • PHS

      Robin- a lot of families decide to have their medically-fragile child in a main living area for ease of cares, like you mentioned but it also ensures that Emma is in the action and really participating with the family as often as possible. I’m glad you have found a system that works well for your family and for Emma. Only 4 short days until the drawing for more storage supplies. I have your name in the pot, check back on Monday November 15th to see if you’ve won!

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    Parents are the best teachers.

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