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HOW TO IMPROVE BATHROOM ACCESSIBILITY

Accessibility is a major factor and contributor to how well we live as humans. It doesn’t matter whether you are suffering from mobility issues, have a relative with a disability, or you are an elderly person, we are all affected. We all want to move around freely in our homes and this often determines how comfortable we will be.

If your home or certain parts of your home are inaccessible, there is a high chance you wouldn’t want to stay in that house. Some major modification for easy home accessibility should be undertaken. However, the bathroom is one place that requires close attention. If a bathroom is accessible, there wouldn’t be concerns about safety and functionality. Also, it makes it easier for you to move in and out and makes life easier for the caregiver.

It doesn’t matter what your motive for improving bathroom accessibility is, there are so many ways and options available for improving bathroom accessibility, we will be discussing a few:

Expand the bathroom entrance: The standard size of a bathroom doorway does not make life easy for someone on a wheelchair. By expanding or increasing the dimensions of the doorway, it becomes easier for someone on a wheelchair to cone in and out. You could also consider incorporating a door handle or knob so that opening and closing the door wouldn’t be difficult.

Make your bathroom a wet room: The tub and shower often poses the biggest obstacle to people in the bathroom. It isn’t easy to access them and there is a high risk of a fall or trip. To prevent this, you may simply convert your bathroom to a wet room. You can do this by installing tiles all over the place so that you can have easy access to the shower. By doing this, you reduce the difficulty and challenges faced by people with mobility issues.

Non slip flooring: Slips and falls occur at home more than other forms of accidents. We can reduce the chances of this occurrence by installing non slip flooring or a mat. There are different options available depending on the needs of a bathroom.

Automatic lighting: Switching lights on and off is usually challenging for people with mobility issues. One way to ease this burden is to move the height of the lighting. A better option is to install automatic lighting such as motion senior lights. Automatic lighting turns on and off by itself as soon as it senses the presence of a human being. This also means there would be no need to reach for switches.

Make Height Adjustments: For people on a wheelchair, the height of a regular bathroom fixture poses a huge challenge. By adjusting the height of the sink, it becomes easier to reach. The toilet height isn’t an exemption, it must be adjusted too. If it is too low or high, there is a problem.

Eliminate barriers: The design and composition of every bathroom is different.  This means that needs and demands are different too. Therefore, it is important to get rid of anything that serves as a hindrance or barrier in the bathroom. Barriers are in different shapes, forms, and sizes. It could be the position of a switch, placement of toilet and vanity, a door that serves as a hindrance, etc.

Install grab bars: Grab bars can be strategically placed so that they add extra support. They can be installed virtually anywhere in the bathroom and toilet to reduce the chances or probability of a fall.

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A LOOK INTO THE FUTURE OF SMART HOME ASSISTANTS AND HOME HEALTHCARE PRODUCTS

The use of smart home technology is becoming prevalent. It makes it easier to carry out some routine tasks. It also improves the quality of life of people struggling with mobility issues. Apart from that, caregivers and medical professionals can carry out their jobs with greater efficiency.

It is very difficult to separate technology from healthcare. An improvement in technology often triggers a corresponding improvement in the healthcare industry. Wheelchairs, home hospital beds, stair lifts, etc. are used in hospitals and medical facilities.

Smart home assistants are beneficial in many ways. It improves safety, convenience and aids the recovery process of patients.

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A STEP BY STEP GUIDE FOR CHOOSING THE RIGHT HOSPITAL BED

Choosing the right hospital bed is not a straightforward decision. It is very important for the comfort and convenience of an ailing person. It does not matter whether you are recovering from a surgery or an injury or a medical procedure, the importance of choosing the correct hospital bed cannot be overemphasized. A good hospital bed adds to your comfort, convenience, and mobility.

There are different shapes, style, design, colour and sizes of hospital beds. The fact that each of these beds has their peculiar features and functionality makes it more difficult and tricky to make the right choice. It doesn’t matter if you are choosing the bed for yourself or a loved one.

Before you choose a hospital bed, you should be able to provide answers to certain questions. In this article, we will also be giving you a step by step guide on how to choose the right hospital bed.

What is the health condition of the user?

The current state of health of the user is very crucial to the type of bed you will buy. If the user will be in bed for a short period of time, there is a temporary option. Also, if the user will be in bed for an extended period, there is another hospital bed option available. Furthermore, you must consider if the user has the ability to move around freely or not. If the user needs assistance to adjust them or put them in position, there is a hospital bed option available too.  

Do you need specific bed features and functionality?

There are several hospital bed features to think about. These features include:

  • Gap protection
  • Side rails
  • Load capacity
  • Bed transport
  • Power needs
  • Storage
  • Bed scales
  • Patient lift

What type of mattress will the patient use?

There are a few things that determine the type of mattress a patient will use. They include amount of time spent in bed and the patient’s health condition. If a patient will be in bed for long hours, there would be a need for a mattress that prevents pressure ulcers and bed sores. There are different types of mattress to choose from – memory foam, gel, and some specialty options that depends on the state of health of the patient.

Is the user mobile or not?

The ability or inability of the user to move has an impact on the type of hospital bed to be chosen. Can the user get in and out of bed with or without support? How much assistance does the user need? If the user can get in and out of bed without support, a basic bed will suffice.

How much time will the user spend in bed daily?

 If the user will spend a large part of the day in bed, you may want to opt for an electric bed because of the level of support it provides. However, if the patient wouldn’t be in bed for long, a manual or semi-automatic hospital bed will do.

How long is the bed needed for?

The fact that a hospital beds are massive investments cannot be overemphasized. If the bed is needed for a short period of time, you may want to consider renting one. However, if the bed will be used for several months or years, an outright purchase may be the best thing to do.

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HISTORY AND EVOLUTION OF HOSPITAL BEDS

A hospital bed has a key role to play in the recovery and comfort of an ailing person. Sadly, their importance and relevance is often downplayed. A hospital bed improves the quality of your sleep and makes you more comfortable. There are different types, shapes, and sizes of this bed. Some hospital beds even make use of innovative technology.

The first hospital bed that was produced wasn’t very easy and comfortable to use. They were first produced in the 1800s and since that time, they have evolved massively. In this article, we will be going back in time to see how hospital beds have evolved over time.

Types of hospital beds

There isn’t only one type of hospital bed. These beds are used in hospitals and other medical facilities. They can also be used at home. It is your health condition and medical state that will determine the type of bed you need. Types of hospital beds include:

Hospital bed history

It isn’t an easy task to trace the origin of hospital beds. There have been different iterations of this bed for so many years. Hospital beds actually started as basic stretchers. The stretcher was made with two long poles of equal length.  A cloth material is spread across these poles so that a patient can be carried from place to place. Since that time, there have been so many changes in the design of hospital beds. Let us analyze them.

1815: The period between 1815 and 1825 was when the production of beds with adjustable rails started in Britain. The side rails were moved with mechanical crank.

1874: A patent for a mattress frame that could be elevated was registered. It is often seen as the first iteration of modern hospital beds.

1909: This was when the next innovation in hospital beds was introduced. This move was initiated by Willis D.Gatch who was an employee of the Indiana University. It led to the invention of the 3 segment adjustable bed which made it possible for elevation of head and feet.

1945: This was when push button electric beds were invented. This design included a built-in toilet so that there would be no need for the bead pan.

1946: This was when a hospital bed with 6 sections and 30 electric engines where developed. It was a reaction to an accident that occurred to Howard Hughes who was a popular billionaire at that time.

1949: The advent of basic functions and control.

1950s: During this period, hospital beds with electric engines were manufactured. This bed had full electrical functioning.

1958: This was when the Circ-O’lectric bed was developed. It was developed by Dr. Homer Stryker.

1961: Introduction of beds with basic controllers.

1974: The introduction of control panel on side rails.

1978: Remote-controlled side rails were produced.

1980s: Attention turned to the development of quality mattresses for use in hospital beds. This led to the production of therapeutic mattresses. Some of these mattresses had extra tools like position detectors and a mechanism for measuring the weight of patients.

1983: Manufacture of the first electric bed for use outside the hospital.  

1990s: Development of more advanced beds. These beds have improved functionality for ease of use and effective operation. It was during this perios that mechatronic beds were produced.

1993: The development of standardized electronic hospital beds so that patients are not exposed to mechanical and electrical hazards.

Today: Improvement on existing hospital bed designs continue to take place as new industry standards continue to spring up. The aim is to have more functional, easy to use, intelligent, and comfortable hospital beds.

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BENEFITS OF HAVING A PATIENT LIFT IN YOUR HOME

There are so many challenges in caring for a relative battling with mobility issues. The challenges are numerous but the most pronounced is helping them move around the house. These patients depend on their caregivers for strength and passion. This somehow increases the challenges of the caregiver and they need to be helped too. One way of doing this is to spend on a patient lift.

By design, a patient lift makes it easier to move or transfer a patient from one place to another. With a patient lift, a patient can be moved in and out of bed conveniently, transferred from a wheelchair to the bed, and taken in and out of the bathtub. They are designed to alleviate the sufferings of a caregiver.

Below are some of the benefits of installing a patient lift:

Comfort: It is not a comfortable thing to rely on other people to be lifted. This can lead to the patient been positioned awkwardly which can have a negative effect on their physical and mental health. Their dignity is usually affected and a patient lift helps us manage this situation.

It is safer: There is more safety in using a patient lift than depending on a caregiver to carry you around. The chances of a slip or a fall are reduced whether you want to get in and out of the bed or make use of the bathtub. This improves your peace of mind as you know that there is very little chance of falling or slipping.

It keeps you at home for longer period: A patient lift increases the likelihood of you staying in the home you love or care about. It is possible to get the same level of care and attention as you would get in a hospital if the right support or medical equipment is available.

It increases the chances of the patient moving around: We have already established the fact that mobility issues make it harder for people to move around. This limits where they can go and affects the responsiveness of their body parts. A patient lift makes it easier for the patient to be moved from place to place and places less burden on the caregiver.

Less strain on caregiver: We already talked about how hard it is to move a person with mobility issues around. The demand on a caregiver is usually enormous and they need as much support as they can get. A patient lift takes the burden of moving you from place to place away from the caregiver.

You can also purchase a lift chair for your loved one, as this will make his/her movement easier.

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BENEFITS OF INSTALLING A HOSPITAL BED IN YOUR HOME

A good bed is a massive investment. To a large extent, it guarantees a good night rest. Restful sleep is even more important if the person is recovering from a surgery, an injury, illness, or any other medical condition.

We all know that not all beds are the same. This becomes more obvious if the person is bedridden or ill. People struggling with mobility issues also know how important it is to have the right bed. These beds aren’t only for hospitals; they can be used at home too. They offer comfort, functionality, and safety at home.

Let us look at some of the benefits of installing a hospital bed at home.

Safety: Hospital beds are usually safer than regular beds. To improve safety, the side rails of the bed can be adjusted to prevent falling from the bed. These rails also serve as extra support and can be held on to for adjustment and additional comfort.

Sleep comfortably: The importance of a good sleep cannot be overemphasized. It is needed for extra comfort and it improves productivity. It also helps to reduce the chances of sicknesses and illnesses. There is usually a sleep challenge for people with mobility issues and health challenges. With a hospital bed, you can adjust and switch positions to get more comfort.

It allows you stay in the home you love:  People love to stay where they love for a long time. However, this will not be possible without comfort. To love a place, you must feel comfortable there. A hospital bed allows you stay in your home comfortably whether you have issues with mobility or not.

It makes it easier to get help from caregivers: As earlier explained, it is very easy to adjust a hospital bed. They can be moved around easily and this makes it less difficult to get into bed or get out of bed. It also makes it less stressful for a caregiver to support you.

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SOME USEFUL MODIFICATION FOR IMPROVING ACCESSIBILITY IN A HOME

As humans advance in age, the importance of accessibility because more evident. It becomes a big challenge to move in and out of certain places in the house and certain parts like stairs, doorways, bathtub, or bedroom. Years back, when a person finds it difficult to move around, they’d have to be taken out of the home they love completely to be taken care of in a hospital or similar facility.

There have been some changes and there is no need to do away with your home because you developed mobility issues. Also, there are different options for modifying homes should these mobility issues come up.

People that wish to remain in their houses as they advance in age or manage a health issue can modify or renovate their homes. This can be achieved by installing some assistant devices to get rid of different barrier. It doesn’t matter what you need help with – getting in and out of bed, getting up the stairs, or having a shower in the bathroom, there are different solution available.

In this article, we will be outlining and discussing the top modifications to improve accessibility in your home.

Front Entrance Platform Lift

Entering and leaving the house is one of the greatest obstacles people with mobility issues face. It becomes difficult to get up and down the stairs so that you do not fall or slip. A front entrance platform lift can solve this problem and make it easier for you to get in and out of your home. They usually come with scooters, wheelchairs and a few other assistive devices. As a result, you wouldn’t need too much support and you are at liberty to go in and out of your home when you wish to. One good thing about front entrance platform lifts is that they are customizable so that they can meet your space and design requirements.

Accessibility ramps

This one is also useful for people with all forms of mobility issues. They are recommended for persons that struggle to move up and down the stairs. It is a form of permanent mobility support whether you use a cane, wheelchair or walker. Like front entrance platform lifts, ramps can also be customized and they aren’t difficult to install. They are also aesthetically pleasing and eye-catching.

Stair lifts

Stairs pose a lot of challenging for aged people and those with mobility issues. It is one of the areas of the house where falls, slips, and injuries occur. A stair lift solves a lot of these problems. So, whether you lack stamina or you are simply afraid of a fall or you just need additional support when you use the stairs, you can and should invest in a stair lift. There are different models and designs of stair lifts. There are those that can be used in straight stair cases and those that can be used in curved stair cases.

Patient lifts

People that care for patients struggling with mobility issues will tell you it is not easy. It is even more difficult when they want to move in and out of a wheelchair, the bed, or bath. A patient lift alleviates some of these sufferings and makes it easier for caregivers to do their job. Installing a patient lift increases the probability and likelihood of getting up and moving around the house. It also provides extra comfort for the patient, improves safety, and relieves the caregiver of so much stress. Therefore, it increases the probability of staying at home whether you are bedridden or not. There are two patient lift options available – the mobile option and permanent fixture. Also, they are very easy to install and put together.

Bathroom safety renovation There is a lot of danger in the bathroom for someone struggling with mobility.  The risk of a fall, slip, or any other form of accident is very high. There is a big challenge in getting in and out of the bathtub or transitioning off the toilet. Bathroom safety renovations reduce these risks. There are various ways of going about improving the safety and accessibility of a bathroom. Also, there are several bathroom safety products you can choose from. They include transfer benches, hand held showers, tub bars, bath lifts, shower chairs, and raised toilet seats. Also, bathroom safety renovation items are customizable.

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TOP FEATURES TO LOOK OUT FOR IN A WHEELCHAIR

Buying a wheelchair is a bit tricky. Some even say it is quite similar to buying a car. To some people, it is a part of their daily lives as it helps them move from one point to another. Therefore, there could be specific requirements and features for improved comfort and convenience.

Gone are the days when wheelchairs where one size fits all. There are different types of this mobility device in the market today. Usually, they come with different shapes, designs, sizes, and features. Your choice often determines how comfortable you would be. A good wheelchair should provide comfort and help you go from place to place easily.

In this article, we will be discussing some of the things you should look out for as it concerns buying a wheelchair. However, before we proceed, it is important to state that you must understand your needs and medical condition before making a decision.

How will you use the wheelchair?

People use wheelchairs for different reasons. It may be for temporary, occasional, or permanent use. The decision of which wheelchair to buy will depend on how you plan to use it. You should be able to provide answers to the following questions.

  • Where will the wheelchair be used the most, home or outside?
  • Do you need the wheelchair as a support mechanism for a physical or medical condition?
  • What terrain will the wheelchair be used on? Is it an outdoor, sidewalk, or ramp?
  • What is the frequency of use of the wheelchair and how much time do you think you will spend on it?
  • What is the mode of transporting the wheelchair, does it require folding?

Some wheelchair features to consider

When purchasing or renting a wheelchair, you should consider some features. They include:

Size and dimensions

You must consider size when choosing a wheelchair. You must look for a chair that fits you such that it isn’t too big or too small. If the wheelchair is too big, there is a chance that you would slip out of it. You must ensure you take the measurement of the width and height of the car. In making a decision on the size, you must factor in your age, height, and weight. It is important to know that some wheelchairs are specially made for children while some are designed for use by adults. Also, there are different shapes and designs of wheelchair and each chair has its maximum permissible weight. Do not assume, check the dimensions of the wheelchair and make sure it is what you want.

Mode of operation

There are two types of wheelchairs – the manual and electric wheelchair. Electric wheelchairs tend to be more powerful than the traditional manual type. An electric wheelchair makes sense in situations where the user has a specific health condition or limited mobility. If you will be using the wheelchair temporarily or sparingly, you may go for the manual option. It all depends on personal preference and financial capabilities. If you decide to buy a manually operated wheelchair, there are two options you can choose from – self-propelled and attendant-propelled model. The difference between the two is that the attendant-propelled wheelchair has a smaller rear and handle.  

Tilt and back support

So many things determine the level of support you will need. They include size, mobility, health condition, and a few others. A good wheelchair will provide adequate support for your head and back and this should form a part of your consideration. If you need to switch positions frequently or need more support, a tilt in space wheelchair will do just that for you. That means you will be able to adjust the chair to meet your needs.

Wheels

The wheel of the wheelchair must suit your mobility demands. A wheelchair that will be used outdoors must have a durable tire that wouldn’t degrade easily. In such an instance, a low maintenance tire is also perfect because they do not go flat easily.

Storage and Transportation

Do not make the mistake of overlooking the ease of transporting a wheelchair. You do not want to buy a wheelchair that will only be useful at home. The process of storing and transporting a wheelchair should be easy and simple. This means the dimension of the chair must be carefully scrutinized. Do not buy a wheelchair that is heavy so that it can be easily folded into your car. If the wheelchair does not meet you storage and transportation needs, do not pay for it.

Arm and foot rests

Arm and foot rests gives you additional support, flexibility and comfort. However, they must be sturdy so that they stay in place when you transition in and out of your wheelchair. There are different design patterns for arm and foot rests.

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WHEN SHOULD I RENT OR BUY HOSPITAL BEDS FOR HOME USE

There are different ways to provide maximum comfort and support for loved ones and a hospital bed for home use is one of them. Therefore, a decision has to be made whether to buy or rent a hospital bed for home use.

Whether you are staying for long-term or short-term, recovering from an injury, or struggling with mobility issues, you would always have to decide if you want to rent or buy a hospital bed.

When should I rent a hospital bed for home use?

You considering renting a hospital bed for home use in the following instances:

Short term recovery

If you would only stay in bed for a short term, you may not need to buy a bed. By renting one for the period of time you would be in bed, you save some money. The bed can be returned immediately after recovery so that you can return to using your regular bed.

You want to test the hospital bed before splashing the cash

Paying for a hospital bed is a huge investment. You may decide to rent a hospital bed before making financial commitment to buy it. During the trial period, you would be able to gauge and decide if the bed will suit your needs in the long run. This may require trying out different beds.

Flexibility

It is possible that your needs and requirements evolve as time changes. So, as your health improves, the hospital bed may not be as useful as it was.

When should I buy hospital beds for home use?

It makes sense to buy a hospital bed in the following instances:

Long term recovery

This is the most common reason people buy hospital beds. If the bed will be used for several years or months, it makes no sense to rent one. So, if you would be in bed for more than a few weeks, it makes financial sense to make an outright purchase.

Customization

There may be a need to have a customized bed for specific needs, requirements, and health concerns. Therefore, it makes sense to buy the bed and have it made to suit your specific needs. However, you should consider different criterion when buying a hospital bed.

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SOME MOBILITY PRODUCTS YOU CAN BUY TO IMPROVE COMFORT IN THE HOME OF A LOVED ONE

It is no secret that people love to stay at home as their age increases. However, this may not be possible if the person is not mobile. The person finds it difficult to do things they usually do with ease. Such a person may find it hard to get in and out of the shower, go up and down the stairs, or struggle to get out of bed.

Thankfully, something can be done about it. With a mobility product, you can improve comfort in such homes. In this article, we will be looking at some of these mobility products.

Lift chair

You can take your old recliner away and replace it with a lift chair. This makes it easier for you to get in and out of your chair. With a lift chair, you can get in and out of your chair quickly, effortlessly, and easily. Replace every chair in your den, living room, and bedroom with a lift chair.

Bed rail

Are you worried that you or a loved one may fall out of bed? This can be prevented with a bed rail. A bed rail guarantees your safety and security in bed. Bed rails can be put together easily and they can be used on either side of the bed. They also provide support for getting in bed and out of bed. It is also easy to disassemble a bed rail.

Transfer pole

A transfer pole also gives you support as you get into bed and out of bed. Transfer poles also help you when standing, moving, sitting, and as you get in and out of toilet. They do not take up too much space and they can be set up quite easily.

Canes

A cane helps you get around as you recover from an injury, surgery, or you just want extra support. Canes improve your mobility in the house. They can be adjusted to match your height and they are designed to support your weight. Canes come with comfortable grips.

Shower chair

There is always a chance of a slip when taking a shower. However, a shower chair helps to reduce the chances of this occurrence. Shower chairs are designed differently, and this means there will always be one that suits your need or fit your bathtub or shower.

Tub bar

A tub bar makes it easier to get in and out of your tub. They do not only offer safety, they also provide extra support and can fit into any tub conveniently.

Transfer bench

Bathroom transitions come with their own challenges and transfer benches make it safer to make those transitions. They are adjustable and can be tweaked to fit all bathroom sizes and layout.