Leaving rehab is a day we all look forward to – and sometimes fear. It is a day we should prepare for in many ways. Don’t be caught in a situation where your home does not have the basic items to make your transition as smooth as possible. You can build upon these tips and continually make your living space more accessible. We asked the team what are the top 3 things they would recommend to someone coming home for the first time. Here’s our recommendations.
Outside the Home
- Assess your home and determine where you will place a ramp to access your house. (Ask the social worker at the rehab facility if they have resources in your community to assist with a ramp.)
Inside the Home
- Remove any area rugs that could get caught in your wheels. (You may want to investigate replacing carpet with hardwood/tile at some future time.)
- Review your floor plan and remove extra furniture so that you can access the rooms throughout the house.
- Teach family not to leave their shoes or toys out in the middle of the floor.
- Adjust the temperature on the water heater to prevent accidental scalding.
- Assess your bathroom and determine if your wheelchair can fit through the door. If not, modify the entry to allow wheelchair access. If you cannot modify the bathroom room, work with your therapists to figure out how and where you will brush your teeth, wash your hair and bathe.
- Add handrails in tub and/or shower, if needed. Talk with your therapist about ordering a shower chair/bench.
- Consider placing light switch extenders to help you turn your lights on and off. They can be purchases on Amazon. You can also look at putting in lights that use a remote or “smart” system.
- Purchase a reacher/grabber to retrieve items on the floor or in out-of-reach places.
For Emergencies and Caregivers
- Call your local fire department and let them know your situation. They often have a list of persons with disabilities in case of fire or natural disaster.
- Know the number of the power company in case of power outages. If you have a ventilator, power chair, air mattress, etc., they will often place you on a priority list when power goes out. Consider purchasing a back-up generator.
- Identify a back-up care provider in the event your primary caregiver gets sick or needs a day off (or you need a day off from them).
- Make a detailed plan for any caregivers with specific safety precautions (curb safety, positioning, etc.).
- Make an emergency kit with extra catheters, urine bags, medical supplies and medication in case of emergency, natural disaster or unexpected hospitalization.
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The opinions and experiences presented herein are for informational use only. Individual results may vary depending on your condition. Always consult with your health care professional. This individual has been compensated by Bard Medical for the time and effort in preparing this article for BARD’s further use and distribution. BMD/BMDA/0119/0759