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Adaptive Solutions Protect and Promote Longer Aging in Place

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Nov 24, 2015 3:36:30 PM

Residential in the Real World

Residential occupational therapist Julie set up her patient and his caregiver for better transportation and transfers without strain, now and later.Savvy aging in place takes more than merely continuing to live at home. To live at home with independence and safety (the cornerstones of successful aging in place) means acknowledging that challenges may arise as circumstances and capabilities change. And for long-lasting aging in place, seniors may need to adapt equipment or alter routines. Being open to adaptive solutions can not only solve immediate problems, but also ensure greater ability and peace of mind for years to come.

For Julie, a Residential Home Health occupational therapist, helping while she is actually in the home is only part of the equation. She aims to find solutions that will protect patients and caregivers from potential strain or injury in the long term, well after their plan of care with Residential ends. Recently, one of her patients had serious concerns about his ability to remain at home; read on to discover how Julie set him and his caregiver wife up with safer, easier alternatives, for both now and later.

Immediate Symptoms, Pressing Concerns

After an exacerbation of his multiple sclerosis, a progressive disease affecting the nervous system, the patient had transferred home from rehab following a hospital stay. Residential Home Health would provide skilled therapy and nursing to continue meeting his needs for improved strength, fall prevention, and catheter maintenance.

When Julie first met the patient, she noticed a rash around his torso that looked like shingles. Because shingles also concerns the nervous system, she sent photos to the patient’s physician for immediate action. After another hospital stay for appropriate treatment of his shingles, the patient returned home again to the care of his Residential Home Health Care Team.

This time, when Julie returned to the patient’s home to resume care, he confided in her his worries about aging in place for the long term. Given his current difficulties with mobility and his anticipated future challenges as his disease progressed, the patient was understandably concerned that he would not be able to continue living safely at home with his wife, who was also his primary caregiver.

Painless Transportation, Daily Mobility

His first concern had to do with car transfers: getting into and out of the family car for routine care and appointments was getting more and more difficult for him and his wife to perform safely. Julie researched different medical transportation services and came up with a feasible option for the patient to be picked up and dropped off in his wheelchair, without any stress — for only $1 each way! The patient used the transportation service for a follow-up dental appointment and was satisfied that this was a better transportation alternative that he could use again and again.

The patient’s second major concern was transfers from wheelchair to bed, which were taking nearly 90 minutes each time. These daily struggles were causing the patient and his wife extreme stress and discouragement about his ability to stand up and pivot in place. Once again, after some research, Julie found a system that would assist the patient in standing — still allowing him to participate in the transfer, but also decreasing the burden on his caregiver. With the help of this device, the patient and his wife reduced their transfer time from a frustrating 90 minutes to a feasible 10.

Present Relief, Future Assurance

After Julie eased the patient’s two greatest concerns with adaptive solutions, both he and his wife were relieved at the improvement in his quality of life. By the end of his plan of care, the patient was able to transfer from wheelchair to bed as much as he wanted, instead of staying sedentary and risking a return to the hospital. His wife would no longer physically struggle or emotionally worry when it came time to leave the house. Julie felt honored to work with her patient and his wife and to provide solutions not only for now, but going forward as his disease progresses.

No matter what your health challenge, Residential offers a range of services to help you work toward your health goals safely at home. Call (888)930-WELL (9355) to discuss your specific situation with a Home Care Specialist today, or click the image below to take our 60-second, 15-question Home Care Assessment.

Topics: Real World Stories, Aging In Place