What does a home assessment look like? What are the most important features to address? These are the top questions asked of us recently. The answer is three-fold; first, we must address safety- developing an accessible entrance/exit of the home; second, we ensure the client is able to meet basic hygiene needs- the bathroom can be the most dangerous room in the home (research indicates 80% of falls in the home occur in the bathroom); finally, ease of mobility in the home and basic comfort and desires.
When our Occupational Therapist and CAPS certified remodeling expert meet the client at their home, we will first address the means of entrance and exit of their home. We will develop an aesthetically-pleasing ramp that will fit the style of the house, or simply add handrails to existing stairs to improve safety; decreasing the risk of falls.
The next area we will focus on is bathroom accessibility. Can the client maneuver through their home to access their bathroom? If wheelchair bound, does the width of the hall and width of the bathroom door allow for the necessary turning radius for the client to access the bathroom. Once inside, we will ensure the client can safely enter and exit the bathtub or shower. Are grab bars needed to add stability and safety with the transfer in/out and/or would a simple remodel or shower seat/bench improve accessibility and safety? How about the toilet? Is it the appropriate height to allow for safe transfer and would grab bars add the needed safety to decrease risk for falls and increase independence? Finally, is the sink accessible? If wheelchair bound, we will suggest a pedestal sink or cabinetry that allows room for the wheelchair to pull under and adequate sink access for the client. We also will ensure lighting is appropriate and glare-free based on client need.
Mobility throughout the home is extremely important and pose potential hazards. We will recommend removal of small throw rugs as they highly increase risk of trips and falls. Raised thresholds are also a trip hazard and an easy fix. Thick carpeting can pose mobility problems for both walking and wheelchair bound clients. Kitchen accessibility is highly individualized based on client need, ability, and the level of independence required given their situation. Whatever the need, we will come up with a plan to optimize independence and safety. Adequate, low-glare lighting throughout the home is essential for safety.
In summary, each home assessment is unique and individualized to each client to meet their needs and what is important to them. Our specialized remodeling team's goal is to maximize the client's safety, independence and overall quality of life through a specific plan developed with the client.