ELIZABETHTOWN — The Elizabethtown Rotary Club was treated Wednesday to a presentation by Elizabethtown Nursing Center’s Rehabilitation Director Corine Leatherman.
She talked to the club about the topic of occupational therapy and how to make your home friendly to those who suffer from mobility issues due to strokes, arthritis or other health issues.
“We try to keep them living at home,” said Leatherman of the patients at the nursing center.
She said the two areas of the home that usually present the biggest issues are the kitchen and bathrooms.
“Bathrooms are a big deal,” said Leatherman.
She said the first step in preparing a patient to return home is to learn what they have in their home. Leatherman said she often asks what type of shower or bathtub a person has in their home. Leatherman said there are simple things folks can do that are inexpensive and don’t require a massive home renovation.
For example, Leatherman told the group about a tub transfer bench. The bench allows the patient to sit on it and place one foot at a time into the tub before carefully sliding to the edge of the tub and entering the tub or shower stall. There are also tub shower chairs that a person can purchase that fit into the shower stall and the patient can sit in the chair while showering, said Leatherman.
She also addressed the addition of grab bars in the bathroom. Leatherman told the group that grab bars need to be attached securely to the walls with screws.
“Falls are a big concern and mounted grab bars are best,” said Leatherman.
She said when you are modifying your home, to remember the doorknobs.
“Fine motor skills go first,” said Leatherman.
She said instead think of installing levers. Leatherman said you don’t have to remove all of your existing doorknobs, however. Instead, you can purchase what is known as a doorknob extension that covers the knob and turns it into a lever, making it easier to open and close doors.
Leatherman also said another helpful item is a clapper device that you can plug in lamps, radios and televisions and such. The clapper device shuts off or switches on appliances with just a clap of someone’s hands.
She also suggested aluminum ramps as they are low maintenance and resalable.
Leatherman also said that folks need to ensure there is adequate lighting in stairwells and hallways.
Erin Smith can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.