Bring Dad (Mom) Home from the Hospital or Rehabilitation

Bringing Dad (Mom) Home from the Hospital or Rehabilitation
Bathroom safety is a major concern as most fall at home happen in this room
We can almost predict what some customers will say when they come into the store. The worried, tense expressions as they look at the variety of home care items on display can be overwhelming to many.  When asked how we can be of help the response is often “Well I am bringing dad home this weekend and they told me that I need to get the house ready”. “What do I need to get???”   The fear, confusion and concern in the “kids” voice and face shows as they are confronted with this new dilemma. All are frustrated as what looks like a mountain of decisions to be made within a few hours or just days.
Seldom has a list of items been given to them by the hospital or doctor’s office that can be used as a guideline for the medical care and safety items the parent* will be using at home.  Don’t panic, in most cases there is time to find the right products for the home rehab of the patient/parent. Once we find the what if any, limitations they have such as mobility and or incontinence issues, a  variety of solutions can be offered to meet the needs of both the parent and caregiver in the home. 

Will they be using a tub or shower?  A shower bench or transfer bench may be best for safety and comfort. Some tubs have sliding doors which can make the use of transfer benches difficult. Removal of the doors may be the best solution then replace with a curtain. This gives more leg room to step in or swing the legs around to gain entry. Plus doors on the tub can make it difficult for a caregiver to be of help. Please do not fall for the false cost saving idea of using a plastic yard chair in the tub/shower.  The heat of the water will weaken the frame which can bend, they do not have nonskid leg tips, they are not adjustable in height, to name a few reasons they can be a hazard.

A shower head that is removable from the wall can be of help, one that has a long hose such as 84” with an on and off switch at the shower head adds to the safety and comfort so reaching for the wall valve is not an issue.
A toilet seat riser and or a commode may be needed. New styles of commodes and benches that do not look institutional that fit into the home décor are available.

Mirrors in many bathrooms may need to be tilted so when you are sitting in a wheelchair the view is angled to the face. Care needs to be taken so the mirror is secure, a handyman should be consulted if you are in doubt about adjusting it.

Rugs (smaller or movable) just get rid of them or secure them to the floor. Rugs that have a thick rubber base that prevents them from moving may work out in some cases. Look for a non-slip floor mat: They can still cause a trip hazard if not completely flat.

Grab bars come in various lengths and colors, they can be mounted at any angle as long as both ends are anchored to the wall. It is best if at least one is anchored into a stud behind the surface.  Try different positions prior to installing any bars. You can sit and stand acting as the patient to see what the best position is. Placing bars on the walls in the bathroom as well as in the hallway should be considered for support.  There are grab bars that clamp onto the wall of the tub to help getting into/ out of the tub.

Risers and safety bars are often needed for the toilet if sitting too low will be difficult after surgery. The first question we ask is what is the shape of the toilet? Is it standard round or elongated? Many seat risers will fit only one shape securely. Risers come in 3 ½ and 5 inch heights this means be sure of the height of the one who will use it all the time. Feet need to be touching the floor for comfort and safety. Safety bars help support the arms when sitting down and getting up. Some risers do come with arm rails as part of the riser then separate safety rails are not needed. Often customers will have taken a photo of the toilet to be sure of the shape when buying a riser.

Doors can be a problem if they get locked which many people do even at home, why is hard to answer. If you cannot disable the lock then try taping the latch so it will not engage the wall jam. This way the door can be opened in any emergency or a simple call for help. Some homes have removed the door then replaced it with a curtain.

Knowing you have done all you can for the safety of your loved one lets you sleep better while keeping them safer at home.  There are many options for bathroom safety these are just a few to think about.  For more ideas and to see many of the products mentioned stop by our showroom and also visit our website

Other items to make the home safer as well as comfortable will be posted in the future.
If you have come up with unique ways to make the home safer, please tell us!

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1740 E. Fort Lowell Road
Tucson, AZ 85719

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