The bed should be in the lightest part of the room, far enough removed from the wall to allow a free circulation of air around it, and to be easily accessible from both sides. It should be so situated that the patient can see out of the window. If you can give him a view from two windows, so much the better. Few people who have not experienced it can realize the weariness of mind which arises from long confinement to one set of surroundings. You have but to spend a few days in one room to become painfully familiar with every petty detail of its furnishing, and such variety as may be obtained from a glimpse out-of-doors will often afford an infinite relief.
It is frequently recommended that all superfluous and merely ornamental articles be removed from the sick-room, as useless incumbrances, only affording so many additional lodging-places for dust; but, unless you are dealing with contagious disease, you will find it better to spend a little more time in the removal of dust than to leave the sufferer with only the bare walls to gaze at, and nothing visible to vary the monotony of his thoughts. That a carpet or wall-paper of set pattern, or anything else presenting regularly recurrent figures, is objectionable, does not need to be suggested to any one who has ever been beset by the counting and classifying fiend who so often takes possession of the invalid left with no occupation for his vacant mind beyond such as is suggested by the objects within his limited field of vision.
Let the room be as cheerful as possible in its aspect. Flowers are quite permissible. Growing plants are better than cut flowers. The latter must be removed as soon as they cease to be perfectly fresh.
There should be no medicine-bottles or medical appurtenances of any kind in sight. They belong in the closet, and should be kept there, except when in actual use.
A thermometer is indispensable. Never permit yourself to judge the temperature of the room by your own sensations or by those of your patient. Hang the thermometer as nearly as possible in the center of the room—at all events, neither against a chimney in use or the outer wall. The one will be hotter and the other colder than the mean temperature, which is what you wish to have registered. This should be, unless you have contrary orders from the physician, about 68° Fahr.
The necessity for absolute cleanliness can not be too strenuously insisted upon. Dusting can only be efficiently done with a damp cloth. The ordinary methods in vogue simply serve to transfer the dust from one spot to another. Removal, not distribution, should be the object in view. The room can only be thoroughly swept and cleaned when the patient can be moved out of it for a time; but the dust may be removed from the carpet quite effectively and noiselessly by means of a damp cloth wrapped around a broom.
Not only for the sake of appearances, but from more directly hygienic considerations, are cleanliness and order to be regarded.