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Making Home Accessible
Ms. J. was battling back from the aftermath of brain surgery that left her in a wheelchair. Ms. J. went to a skilled nursing facility where she struggled to regain the use of her legs and other basic activities. Her doctor and family members weren’t seeing significant progress, all the while Ms. J. was beginning to show early signs of dementia. Ms. J’s family made the difficult decision to bring her home to the house that she had lived in for decades. The decision was made, in large part, to help fight the onset of any memory loss that she was beginning to have.
While her condominium was considered a first floor unit, there were multiple steps leading up to the front and back doors which she would not be able to navigate in a wheelchair.
Terry Donovan was called in to provide a vertical wheelchair lift that would allow her caregivers to bring her in and out of her home with ease. After doing a home evaluation and assessing the mobility within Ms. J’s condo, additional steps were taken to ensure that the caregivers could maneuver Ms. J around within her condo by minimizing any glaring obstacles. One such obstacle was to figure a way to navigate Ms. J’s wheelchair around a circular staircase that did not allow for any turning radius from the hallway into the study area.
Since there were other access points into and out of the lower level, a decision was made to remove the spindles and balusters of the staircase and cover up the stairwell opening to gain additional open floor space needed to allow for radius turns and pivots into and out of the tight hallway.
The staircase trim material was put aside and can easily be re-installed once the added floor space is no longer needed.
Other adjustments were made to the bathroom that would allow the caregiver to assist Ms. J. in her ADL’s. These adjustments also made it easier to allow the caregivers to tend to their own needs. Taking stress off of the caregivers also took stress off of Ms. J. As a result, she was able to focus on her number one priority which was to continue recovery while learning to regain use and functionality of her limbs. Doing this at home was preferred by Ms. J. and was easier on her daughters, who took turns spending time and visiting with their mother in a familiar and comfortable setting.