There was a time when family physician house calls were a common place occurrence. Today, that practice is becoming increasingly rare. Ask yourself, “When was the last time that any medical professional came to visit me in my home?”
Since our inception in 1985, we have operated on the principle that the majority of the products we provide should be custom-tailored to each customer’s living environment. It is essential that we visit our clients right in their homes to determine the true functionality of their product purchase and to ensure that they are getting the highest benefit. Home visits are a common part of daily routine at each of our MEDIchair stores.
We also work closely with rehabilitation professionals such as Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists who make home visits. All of our retail operations offer free evaluation equipment to these medical professionals for the purposes of conducting home environment assessments with their clients.
Choosing the Right Mobility Product for Your Space
We provide these essential services because we believe that every living environment is different, as are the living habits of each and every client. There are a number of points to consider in order to determine which mobility product or product combination is ideally suited for their needs:
- Do ramps or threshold ramps need to be installed to provide mobility equipment access to the living environment?
- Does the mobility equipment have sufficient turning radius to function within the living space? Is there an elevator or lift that the mobility product must fit into?
- Is the mobility equipment narrow enough to fit through all doorways?
- Where does the client primarily use the mobility product, indoors or outside? This may prompt a decision, in the case of a scooter, as to whether it should be a three wheel (smaller turn radius) or a four wheel model (superior stability for outdoors).
- Will the equipment navigate narrow thresholds and ramps to provide access to the living space? In the case of steeper inclines, do stabilizers need to be added to ensure client safety?
- Is the equipment set to the right height to provide ease of transfer for the client to sitting surfaces? Do adjustments need to be made on the floor to seat height of the wheelchair for smooth access to toileting, desks, work surfaces or beds?
- Is the weight of the mobility product right for both self-propulsion and caregiver needs within the home environment?
- In the case of a wheelchair, will the client be dining at a regular table and if so, do the arms of the wheelchair allow the client to sit close to the table or does the wheelchair need to be equipped with desktop arms or a functional tray.
Preventing Accidents in the Bathroom
The bathroom can be a dangerous area for both able-bodied people as well as those with disabilities or restricted mobility. A home inspection ensures the selection and installation of bathroom safety equipment that is ideally suited to the client’s living space.
Here are a few checkpoints that will be considered during an in-home assessment:
- Are grab bars needed? Can they be connected to wall studs for safe installation and still provide the client with proper functionality?
- Does the bathroom have enough space around the toilet to install toilet safety frames?
- What is the current height of the toilet and does it need to be raised with the installation of a toilet elevating device or the addition of a raised toilet seat to assist the client in transfer?
- Which bath stool will safely fit into the width of the base of the tub. Additionally, it can be determined if there is a need for and space available to accommodate a shower transfer bench.
- Can a handheld shower be installed for the customer to use while sitting on a shower stool or a shower transfer bench?
- Should the bathtub have anti-slip strips installed to help prevent a sudden fall?
- Is a bath lift required to lower and raise the patient in and out of the bathtub? Determining the use of either a water-powered or low voltage power system to operate the lift will be dependent upon the ease of access to a water supply.
Ensuring Bedroom Comfort and Safety
Like the bathroom, the bedroom is a high usage area in the home. Again, a home assessment inspection is critical to ensuring optimum safety and comfort for each client’s unique needs. There are many areas that a trained healthcare professional can be of assistance to caregiver and client.
- Does the customer suffer from vertigo? If so, should a bed rail be installed? Should a floor to ceiling pole be installed if the bed does not have proper attachment points?
- Is there a need for an over bed table during recuperation?
- Is a bedside commode required?
- Do full bedside rails need to be installed to prevent falling or rolling out of bed?
- Would a tracked overhead lift system be beneficial to move the clinet in and out of bed? If so, is the architectural structure of the room sufficient for safe installation?
Creating Easy Access in General Living Areas
MEDIchair’s highly skilled professionals are also trained to provide the caregiver and client with ideas and advice surrounding the general living areas of the home. Here are some examples:
- The height of the home’s access space (outside stairs and landing) will play a key role in determining whether a wheelchair ramp system is practical. There must be sufficient space available to create a slope that is easy to navigate for mobility products.
- From a building code prospective, the minimum requirement is a 12:1 ratio for the slope and height of elevation. A home visit will quickly determine if the required space is available to build a ramp system in accordance with code or if an elevating device such as a porch lift will be needed to provide access to wheelchairs, power wheelchairs or scooters.
- For people who have difficulty using stairs, MEDIchair service professionals can determine the type and cost of stair lifts or elevators. This assessment is based on a variety of factors including number of stairs, curvature of stairs, landing area, access to a nearby electrical supply and access to the stairs by able-bodied people.
- If the client wishes to have a lift chair in the family room or living room, we must determine if there is sufficient room for a regular lift chair to recline. If space is at a premium, a “wall hugger” model may be the more appropriate choice.
- Should furniture risers be installed under couches and chairs to make entry and exit easier?
It is important for caregivers and clients alike to select knowledgeable, caring, committed home medical equipment specialists with services available to help you discover the best ways to increase your independence and safety every day. Use our handy store locator to find your nearest MEDIchair store. They would be more than happy to assist you.