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How should a home be organized for safety and accessibility for a new wheelchair user who has a spinal cord injury?

How should a home be organized for safety and accessibility for a new wheelchair user who has a spinal cord injury?

Katie Powell, OT

Occupational Therapist, Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center, Milwaukee

Read Bio More Videos by Katie Powell
Transcript
In general, when someone is coming into the home as a new wheelchair user, you want to insure that there are wide pathways throughout the home, and that the doorways can accommodate somebody’s width of their wheelchair. You want to make sure that t... Show More

In general, when someone is coming into the home as a new wheelchair user, you want to insure that there are wide pathways throughout the home, and that the doorways can accommodate somebody’s width of their wheelchair. You want to make sure that they have adequate space to be able to turn around in the bedroom, to be able to turn around in the kitchen. So that’s the most basic thing. The other things you’re going to want to look at is are they able to reach things that are most important to them—so in the kitchen, can they access water, get a glass? Can they access some snack foods or simple foods to prepare? Can they safely use the phone in case of an emergency? Can they safely get in and out of the home—is there a ramped entry in case of a fire? And becoming more complex, we want to seriously look at what the bathroom set-up is like—are they going to be able to use the toilet? Does a roll-in shower need to get put in? It can get as complex as looking at what the flooring surfaces are—can they propel themselves on a carpet if they’re a manual wheelchair user? So as you can see, preparing the home is one of the most challenging tasks after a spinal cord injury.

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How should a home be organized for safety and accessibility for a new wheelchair user who has a spinal cord injury?

Katie Powell, OT

Occupational Therapist, Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center, Milwaukee

More Videos by Katie Powell
Transcriptadd

In general, when someone is coming into the home as a new wheelchair user, you want to insure that there are wide pathways throughout the home, and that the doorways can accommodate somebody’s width of their wheelchair. You want to make sure that they have adequate space to be able to turn around in the bedroom, to be able to turn around in the kitchen. So that’s the most basic thing. The other things you’re going to want to look at is are they able to reach things that are most important to them—so in the kitchen, can they access water, get a glass? Can they access some snack foods or simple foods to prepare? Can they safely use the phone in case of an emergency? Can they safely get in and out of the home—is there a ramped entry in case of a fire? And becoming more complex, we want to seriously look at what the bathroom set-up is like—are they going to be able to use the toilet? Does a roll-in shower need to get put in? It can get as complex as looking at what the flooring surfaces are—can they propel themselves on a carpet if they’re a manual wheelchair user? So as you can see, preparing the home is one of the most challenging tasks after a spinal cord injury.

How should a home be organized for safety and accessibility for a new wheelchair user who has a spinal cord injury?
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