Your safety is very important, both in the hospital and at home. Your therapist will talk to you about your safety and activities at home. They can also visit your home to make sure it is safe and see if you need any special aids or equipment. Your therapist may suggest changes to your home such as ramps and lifts, to help you get around more safely. If you need help at home, talk to your family and friends. There are also other support services in many communities such as Meals on Wheels and home care but you may have to pay for some of these services.
Here are some tips to make your home safe:
- Be careful when getting in and out of a chair or bed and when you walk.
- Keep a walker close to your bed or chair, especially when you get up after sleeping.
- Use a waist pouch or walker bag to keep your hands free if you use a walking aid.
- Don’t rush to answer the telephone or door. Tell your friends and relatives to let the telephone ring longer or carry a cordless phone with you.
- Make sure stairways have secure railings. Practice doing stairs with your therapist to make sure you can go up and down safely before going home. You may also be able to get a ramp or stair lift for outdoor stairs.
- Make sure your room and walking areas have lots of light and are free from items that you could trip on, such as clutter and loose rugs.
- Only sit on sturdy chairs. Don’t use rockers, stools with wheels, swivel chairs, or chairs with soft or low seats.
- Make sure the brakes are on when you are sitting at rest in your wheelchair and when you’re not using it. Remember the safety tips for using a wheelchair.
- Keep a steady pace when walking – avoid slowing down or speeding up as you walk. Don’t walk on wet or polished floors.
- Use a walking aid when going outside during wet or icy weather. Take shorter steps and walk slowly. Dry your shoe and the tips of your walking aid when you come back inside. For icy conditions use an ice pick on your walking aid or a clamp-on traction device for your shoe.
- When transporting your wheelchair in a vehicle, it may be easier to put the wheelchair behind the front seat instead of in the trunk.