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Simple Home Adaptations for Amputees

By May 2, 2018July 11th, 2019No Comments
disability compensation

Personal injury victims who have lost an upper or lower limb are faced with some very practical challenges when they come home from the hospital. Tasks that were once simple, such as getting in and out of the shower, may now feel overwhelming. Here are a few suggestions on how to adapt a home to make life more comfortable for amputees at no, or very little, cost.

General tips

  • Make sure there is good lighting both inside and outside the house to prevent falls. If possible, install motion sensor lights.
  • Add a handrail alongside steps leading to the house and/or cover any steps with a sturdy wheelchair ramp, which can be rented or bought second hand.
  • Many upper limb amputees find rounded doorknobs difficult to open. Replace these with a handle that has a lever.
  • Remove rugs, wires and clutter from all rooms to prevent tripping hazards.
  • If the house is a double storey, consider relocating the bedroom to the ground floor.

Bathroom modifications

  • Liquid soaps and shampoos with pump tops are easier to use than conventional products.
  • A flexible hand-held shower-head goes a long way to make bathing easier.
  • Replace shower doors with a shower curtain for easier access.
  • A shower chair is essential, you can use your crutches or wheelchair to get into the bathroom and then sit down in the shower chair.
  • Install grab bars in the shower and next to the toilet. Removable grab bars are available if you don’t want to install permanent ones.
  • Make sure the bathroom has a night-light that can be switched on from a seated position to prevent trips and falls.

Bedroom modifications

  • Rearrange the furniture so that there is enough space to turn around in a wheelchair.
  • Keep a ‘touch on’ lamp (a light without fiddly switches) next to the bed.
  • Keep the wheelchair or crutches within reach of the bed to minimise the risk of falling when you get up again in the morning.

Kitchen modifications

  • Take out the cupboards from under the sink to make space for a wheelchair.
  • Rearrange the contents of the kitchen cupboards so that items used on a daily basis are within reach.
  • Place gel pads, or rubber water bottles filled with cold water, under plates and bowls to prevent them from sliding off laps.