When a person has suffered a medical set back such as a stroke, safety in the home is an important consideration. A stroke recovery patient has additional needs due to the medical condition and the home should be evaluated for any hazardous conditions, furniture, or accessories that may cause harm to the patient. For instance, chairs those were once easy to get in or out of may now be impossible to maneuver. With a little foresight in regards to current and future needs, a stroke patient’s home can be made safe and comfortable. Stroke recovery is easier when the patients surroundings are conducive to ease of maneuverability and rest.
It takes a little time to acclimate to the challenges that exist after the stroke when before there was none. Frustration is expected when adapted to the new way of living after the stroke. Patience and sensitivity from the caregiver helps the stroke recovery patient rehabilitate and adapt with less stress. Light switches should be moved to directly inside the door opening to enable the lights to be switched on when entering the room. The bathroom should have a low elongated seat and grab bars on each side for support. Special care should be taken in the shower area such as grab bars and in some cases a shower chair is the best choice.
If the patient needs to be confined to a wheel chair, many changes should be made to enable him or her to travel without barriers through the home. Remove doors, widen door openings and clear the home of any obstacles such as, misplaced furniture. Rising from chairs and moving throughout the house is easier if armchairs have long enough armrests to hold onto when rising and railings are placed where the patient needs extra support.
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The kitchen should have a non-slip mat in front of the sink if the patient is ambulatory. Drawer knobs should be replaced with handles so a firmer grip can be made. Pull out shelves in cabinets and lazy susans in the corner cabinets help to bring the cabinets contents out instead of making the person bend and reach for what is inside the cabinet. A full kitchen remodel can provide wheelchair accessible areas for food preparation as well as an open front sink area for easy access. When changes are made that make every day living easier for a stroke recovery patient, things become more natural around the home for them in no time.
Stroke patients have suffered some neurological changes to cognitive, motor and sensory functions and what was familiar to them in the past may be a challenge to them now. Their own home should not make them lose any more independence and with proper planning, they would not have to.
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