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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Safe Caregiving and Home Health Equipment - 5 Items That Can Make a Difference

These five pieces of home health equipment can make a big difference for people with mobility challenges and for their caregivers. Of course, before using them consult with your doctor to see if they are appropriate for the condition.

1. LIGHTER WEIGHT WHEELCHAIRS - Lighter than the 40 or 50 pound heavy wheelchairs, these are easier for a caregiver to lift into and out of a car, helping to avoid caregiver injuries.

Search the internet and you'll see there are wheelchairs weighing closer to 30 pounds or even less. There are ultralight weight folding wheelchairs with removable backs and legs. When you take them apart it only takes a few seconds and is easier to lift. They are also easier to push either by a caregiver or by self-propulsion.

They are often more expensive, but used wheelchairs or demos can be found.

2. ROLLATOR WALKERS WITH SEATS - Taking a walk around the neighborhood or into a store can be tiring and a walker with a seat provides an emergency resting place. The rollator type walkers have handbreaks and wheels on all four legs. To fold them up, you pull up the seat, and then push or pull a button on each side to fold the legs in.

3. SHOWER CHAIRS WITH LEGS ADJUSTED TO A COMFORTABLE HEIGHT - Getting up from a low chair is one of the difficulties faced by people with mobility challenges. Assisting with a manual lift can be difficult for a caregiver too. The plastic shower chairs have adjustable legs. If you raise the chair to a height that is easier for the person to rise from this can make it less of a struggle to get up. It will be safer for the caregiver as well if there is less lifting.

4. RAISED TOILET SEATS WITH SIDERAILS - Again, rising from a low area, such as a regular commode, can be difficult for people who are frail, who have arthritis in the knees, or who have difficulties with their hips or backs. Caregivers can help save themselves from lifting injuries if the person they assist has higher seating and can get up more easily.

5. BEDSIDE COMMODE - Visits to the restroom in the middle of the night, especially, can be difficult or risky when people are sleepy and might feel wobbly on their feet. Avoiding a fall is always important.

Many people feel the need to visit the commode several times a night. A bedside commode makes this safer by reducing fall risk. Also, it can be safer for the caregiver who is doing a transfer assist or ambulation assist. Again, the commode legs can be adjusted so the person does not have to struggle to rise from a low position.

1 comment:

Linda said...

If the person you are caring for truly has mobility problems and you are concerned that they may get up in the night and fall, I would also recommend a baby monitor so that you can hear them. I found that my aunt would try to get up on her own and many times when sleepy had a difficult time and may have fallen if I had not been there to help her.