How You Can Ease Your Transition Home from Rehab

Who is in Charge with the Return Home from Rehab?

We often work with people who are returning home from rehab. There are so many things going on when someone is attempting to return home, especially if their abilities have changed and they are using new mobility equipment like walkers or wheelchairs. People may also have different priorities when they go back home. Some want to simply change as little as possible and try to live as much the same as before. Others throw themselves into change, challenging themselves to create new ways of accomplishing tasks. 

It often takes effort to communicate what needs to get done in the home and get that work done quickly enough. Therapists in rehab do a fantastic job of helping people regain and build skills, but beyond a discharge visit, they aren't often able to spend time planning modifications and people may often need to solve many problems by themselves. Discharge visits often occur just before a person returns home, which doesn't leave much time for construction professionals to provide quotes and get the work done. Home Health Therapists need to focus on the person's recovery and may not have the therapy time available or expertise to manage any construction that is needed. Traditional contractors may be knowledgeable about building but not understand how to design an environment that bests matches an individual's abilities or where to find the best technology for use in the home. 

So, with all the changes, different goals, and people involved, what is most important? Who is in charge? The answer? You, the client are the most important part of the homecoming process and things work out best in the long run if you are involved in what is going on. 

The therapists attempting to help you get stronger, the contractors making changes in your home, and the caregivers (family or professional) assisting with activities of daily living are all working to make you as comfortable, independent, and safe as possible. You have some responsibilities as well, though. It’s very likely that you are going to be the only one who is participating in the whole process from beginning to end. It's up to you to learn what you can from your therapists and incorporate what you learn from them with your own goals for living. It's up to you to make sure the recommendations from the therapists are conveyed to and understood by the contractors who you work with. It’s up to you to make sure that the equipment and modifications put in by contractors are used safely by the caregivers. You are the one in the unique position of being able to steer your own recovery. Don’t hesitate. Take charge and establish communication. Let people know what you need, and what everyone’s recommendations are. The better your team works together, the more successful your return home will be.

Rehab and remodeling can both be overwhelming experiences. Follow these tips to make your transition home much smoother

  • Understand your needs. Before reaching out to a contractor, it's important to understand your unique needs. Your therapists can help you plan for the near and far future.
  • Find the right contractor for the job. Not everyone is experienced in the type of home modifications and equipment you need. It's important to find a contractor who can accommodate your specific needs so that you can be as comfortable as possible in your home. Rehab staff may have a list of people they've worked with in the past. You can also check with the National Association of Home Builders for availability of a Building Professional with a designation called Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS). You may be able to locate a company that works with home modifications in your area through National Resource Center for Supportive Housing and Home Modifications. Some companies like ours specialize in home modifications by combining therapists and contractors in one service.
  • Don't forget training in the new environment. Once your home modifications have been installed, you still need to learn how to use them effectively in your daily life. It takes training and time to get familiar with any new addition to your home. 

So, share the news and share the video. You or one of your caregivers are really in charge of your recovery, from your first steps to your return to a safe home. Everyone working with your is part of your team, and it’s your responsibility to help them coordinate, cooperate, and help you. If you live in the Greater Omaha, Lincoln, or Council Bluffs, Iowa areas, Total Home Access Solutions, a division of Total Respiratory and Rehab home modifications services are available to you. We would love to help you through the process of getting home from rehab. Give us a call for any questions or to go over your options, we'd be honored to help.

5 Things You Must Know About Grab Bars

Grab bars are one of the most versatile, frequently used, and easily available home modifications on the market today. They’re sold not only in specialty stores, but also are available from both major and local hardware stores. More houses are even starting to be built with grab bars ready for use. Despite becoming more common, there are still many misconceptions about grab bars.  Mistakes are still being made that effect a person’s safety and quality of life. 

Here  are five things everyone should know about grab bars before they recommend one or buy one.

  1. Grab bars are not magic, nor are they one size fits all. Grab bars, like any other home modification, work best if they are placed where they are needed. Location will be determined by the difficulty a person has (if any) with balance or strength, how far they can safely reach, and the environment. If you aren't simply planning for the future, you can consult with an occupational therapist, physical therapist, or a certified aging in place specialist before deciding exactly where to put a grab bar.
  2. Grab bars don’t just have to go into studs. Grab bars can be secured with reliable new technology.  Blind fasteners rated for grab bars can be used to place grab bars exactly where they need to be if a stud or blocking is not available. 
  3. Grab bars don’t have to be permanent to be secure. Many people worry about the resale value of their house if they get a grab bar, or are afraid that they will have to move and won’t be able to take their grab bars with them. Traditional wall mounted grab bars can be beautiful, but they are not the only choice for balance support. Floor to Ceiling poles like the Superpole from Healthcraft, bars that attach or clamp to fixtures like the tub and toilet, and even high quality suction bars may be used on the right surfaces.    
  4. US Accessibility Standards or the American with Disabilities Act Guidelines and other codes may not apply to your home. Many people are not sure what codes apply to them. Many guidelines cover placement of grab bars in commercial or multi-family homes. If you don’t live in a home like this, you can put grab bars exactly where you need them. If you live in a place where codes define where grab bars are located, you can usually still exceed the guidelines and put in more grab bars in additional locations. This is a good thing, as the codes are designed to appeal to as wide a base as possible, but individual people benefit from individual customization with home modifications like grab bars.
  5. Grab bars are not just for people who are aging or have a disability. Grab bars can help anyone in the bathroom. People of all ages can fall. Nearly a quarter of a million people are injured each year in the bathroom, and 80% of those are from slipping and falling. A grab bar will reduce the risk a fall will occur. Having a grab bar or bars installed can not only make the home more safer and more accessible, it may actually increase value to certain markets.

So, share the news and share the video. Here are 5 very important things people should know about grab bars. You may be surprised how many people will be amazed that there is anything to know about grab bars at all!

2 Important Safety Features in Our Vertical Platform Lifts

Vertical Platform Lifts can help people with mobility problems get in and out of their house and from one floor to another. Whether it is a few inches or several feet, stairs present problems for people. When we are considering alternatives to ramps or elevators, people often ask what makes a vertical platform safe. I’d like to highlight two of the safety features, in our video today.
Bruno vertical platforms that we install come with an interlock, which keeps the door or gate closed when the platform isn’t positioned right behind the gate or door. The door can’t be opened which reduces the risk of falling.

A second important feature of a vertical platform lift is the safety panel under the lift. If something rolls under the lift, the pad will touch it as the platform is lowered. The switch under the panel will then stop the lift. This is very important as the person who is riding a lift can’t see what is under the lift.

There are many reasons to consider a vertical platform lift and these are just two of the safety features that will let you use a lift with confidence over the years. Email or call if you would like more information.