Patient and Family Rehabilitation Resources - Helpful Hints

As you or your loved one consider a stay at a nursing facility, remembering the following tips can ease the way. A therapy session may occur daily Monday through Friday, or less often as indicated. There may also be times when a therapy session is held on the weekend. Typically there are one to three types of therapy involved, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy. The timing and duration of each session is a topic you may wish to discuss with your therapist to make the best of your time in rehab.

When staying at a nursing facility for rehabilitation, it is helpful to have the following items available for comfort and safety:

  • Well fitting sneakers that may need to accommodate swelling or braces and therefore may need to be a different size from usual
  • Non slip socks
  • Plenty of undergarments
  • Comfortable, loose fitting pants such as sweat pants
  • Front closing sweater or sweatshirt
  • All clothing should be labeled
  • Be sure to bring in any splints, braces or orthotics that have been issued
  • Pictures of family and or pets can be comforting to look at and enjoy during quiet moments
  • Whatever snack that is enjoyed  if allowed by the doctor- having a few treats in the bedside stand can be a real boost
  • Favorite toiletries such as lotion or make-up
  • Don’t forget to bring your enthusiasm and encouragement! Rehab can be hard work!

When it is time to go home, please be aware of the following suggestions to maximize safety in the home.

General Safety Hints

  • A medical alert system or routinely scheduled phone calls once or twice a day in case of problems
  • Be sure to get up slowly and have your balance before walking after you have been sitting or lying down
  • Wear low heeled shoes that fit properly
  • Clear the home of tripping hazards such as phone cords, electrical cords, scatter rugs or throw rugs and clutter
  • Use carpet tape to secure the edges of area rugs
  • Clean up spills promptly and avoid slippery wax on floors
  • If a walker, cane or rollator are used, be sure they are the correct height; have your therapist measure this before returning home
  • Be sure rooms are well lit with easy access to light switches
  • Avoid standing on chairs or step ladders
  • Do not smoke in bed and use extreme caution when smoking if alone in the house. Avoid smoking when tired or sleepy
  • Be sure smoke detectors have working batteries in them and are located on all levels of the home
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy near sources of flames
  • Handrails on steps need to be sturdy and ideally located on both sides of all stairways
  • Have  telephones easily accessible with frequently dialed numbers and emergency numbers either programmed into the phone or easily visible next to the phone

Bathroom Safety Hints

  • Use a nightlight(s) to illuminate the path to the bathroom and the bathroom itself
  • Use non-slip materials on the floor of the bath tub
  • Be sure to use all recommended bath aides such as grab bars and seats or benches
  • Use hand rails or raised toilet seats to make toilet transfers safer and easier
  • Mark the hot and cold water faucets clearly and have the hot water heater no hotter than 120ºF
  • Make sure door locks can be opened from both sides
  • Avoid bathing when alone in the home

Kitchen Safety Hints

  • Be sure appliances are in good working order with dials well marked
  • Use automatic shut off appliances when possible
  • Have kitchen area well lit
  • Keep floors clean with easy access to all areas and items used
  • Keep sharp items in a safe rack or block
  • Store heavy or frequently used items on counter tops to save energy and improve safety
  • Keep cleaning items separate from food items
  • Rotate food regularly and be sure to use before expiration dates
  • Avoid loose fitting clothes/sleeves when cooking, tie back long hair for safety

Bedroom Safety Hints

  • Be sure all walkways are clear of clutter and tripping hazards
  • Use a bedside lamp
  • Have a telephone easily accessible from the bed in case of an emergency
  • Keep all bedspreads/ blankets off of the floor to avoid tripping

Medication Safety Hints

  • Routinely review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist, especially when taking a new medicine
  • Clearly label all medicines
  • Be sure to read each medicine label in good lighting to ensure correct dose
  • Properly dispose of all unused or old medicines
  • Do not take another person’s prescription drugs
  • Use caution and check with your doctor or pharmacist about mixing your medications with alcohol
  • Use a clearly marked pill sorter box to ensure proper doses are taken routinely and accurately
  • Notify your doctor or pharmacist about any non-prescription drugs, supplements or vitamins/ herbal remedies you may be taking to avoid negative interactions

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