I am not aware of many people who have a genuine desire to move to a long-term care (LTC) facility. Please understand that this is not a slight against these organizations. On the contrary. Today’s long-term care facilities are light years ahead of where they were only a few years ago and are staffed by some of the most caring individuals you’ll find anywhere.
The truth is that, as well as they are run, they are still not home. Increasingly, Canadians are moving to LTC organizations, largely because their specific lifestyle needs are not being met at home. That is their perception, reality is quite different. Today’s caregiver needs to be properly informed before embarking a loved one on these lifestyle changes. What many caregivers are unaware of is that there have been tremendous advancements in home medical equipment that allow people to more easily perform everyday tasks and remain safe and comfortable in their homes longer than ever before.
If we examine why people suddenly decide to make the leap to long term care, the reasons typically fall into two categories. The first is that the person is no longer able to safely and securely function in their existing home surroundings. Secondly, their caregiver is no longer capable of safely providing daily living tasks such as lifting or has other physical limitations. For the caregiver, there appears to be only one solution, long term care.
If the caregiver were made aware of the availability of products for the home and their proper application in everyday life, more people would be able to maintain their lifestyle while remaining in the comfort of their own home much longer.
Mobility Barriers Precipitate the Move to Long Term Care
It has been MEDIchair’s experience for more than 25 years in the home medical equipment industry that the catalyst hastening a move to long term care revolves around the mobility of the patient in the home. Safety and ease of use in transferring a patient between areas of the home is paramount. Examples may include transferring from a bed to a wheelchair or power chair, transferring into a bath tub or onto a toilet. To the uninformed, these mobility issues can be daunting. However, new advancements in home medical equipment coupled with highly skilled and trained home medical equipment specialists, these challenging tasks are becoming increasingly simpler to perform.
New Products for a Safer Bedroom
One product that has allowed many caregivers to keep their loved ones in their home longer is the home care bed. New split spring designs enable these beds to be easily installed in small areas where it would be difficult, if not impossible, to place a conventional bed. New pressure relief surfaces (mattresses) can be applied to home care beds to reduce the risk of bedsores. Technology also allows home care beds to be raised independently in both the head and foot areas. In fact, the entire bed can be raised and lowered to facilitate ease of transfer to a wheelchair. These beds also come equipped with side rails for safety, providing the caregiver with peace of mind that their loved one will not fall out of bed. Another product, the overbed table, can be a great accessory for both the caregiver and loved one.
Overhead Lift & Track Systems
Products that, only a decade ago, were available exclusively in hospitals and other healthcare institutions have been modified and adapted to the home environment. One such product is a noverhead lift and track system. At MEDIchair, we are installing more of these products than ever before. Caregivers find them easy to use and make their tasks simpler and safer. The overhead lift and track system can either be permanently installed with tracks to a variety of rooms in the home or temporarily installed in a single room to facilitate the transfer of a patient from their bed into a wheelchair or onto a commode. At MEDIchair, our home equipment specialists are trained to provide caregivers with a proper assessment and an installation quote for using this technology.
Caregivers also have the option of obtaining similar functionality using a hydraulic/electric portable floor lift. Both the overhead system and a hydraulic/electric portable floor lift eliminate caregiver back strain and other safety hazards associated with patient lifting. Both of these products can be easily adapted for bathing.
New Products for a Safer Bathroom
Having easy access to bathing and toilet needs in the home is critical for the caregiver and their loved one. With today’s techniques, gaining access to the toilet is both easy and inexpensive. Facilitating ease of entry onto a toilet is often as simple as raising the toilet seating surface by two to four inches. This can be accomplished by installing either a raised toilet seat on top of the toilet bowl or raising the entire toilet. Either method will provide the caregiver with a relatively level transfer plane eliminating the potential of back strain. It also makes it much easier for the patient to exit the toilet. The addition o farms on the raised toilet seat or the installation of a super pole further increases safety.
A variety of other bathroom safety products are now available to the caregiver. One simple cleaning and hygiene solution is to have a bath seat or transfer bath board or bench and a hand held shower. However, many of our caregivers tell us that their loved ones still prefer the benefits of a full soak in a warm bath. This is easily accommodated with the installation of a bath lift, either hydraulic or low voltage electric. In both situations, the patient is slowly lowered and raised in and out of the bathtub with the push of a button. This fabulous invention creates a very safe, private and enjoyable environment for both caregiver and loved one.
Making Your Home Barrier Free
Over the years, we have witnessed patient transfers to Long Term Care organizations based solely on the fact that patient could not get out of the home to visit with a physician. While we may not be able to control doctor availability or where one may have to go to see them, we can make their home easily accessible and find them the appropriate mode of transportation from walker, towheel chair, power chair or scooter.
Making the home easily accessible may involve the installation of ramps, inclined platform lifts or porch lifts. Two storey houses can be modified internally with the addition of either astair liftor a residential elevator. Again proper assessment and installation of these products by qualified home medical equipment specialists will eliminate many of the health safety concerns of caregivers.
Talk to Us First
Before accepting the finality of a move to a long-term care facility, talk with the home medical equipment specialists at MEDIchair. Request a free in-home assessment and get the facts, experience products in action and talk with people who are highly knowledgeable in the industry. Let us help you determine what is the best solution for your particular situation. At MEDIchair, we are passionate about finding the best home medical equipment products and providing the right solutions for caregivers and their loved ones.