We visit the bathroom routinely at the beginning, end, and throughout most days. Avoiding a fall or injury in the bathroom is essential to preserving independence and long-term well being. We hope that this guide will help you and your loved one keep these regular visits to the bathroom safe. Research on falls has found that each year 1 in 3 older Americans will suffer from a fall. Fortunately, many of these falls do not cause serious injury requiring hospitalization. Although any time one falls, even those not needing hospitalization, it is a very unsettling event. But of those more dangerous falls, the closest common location will occur in their bathroom
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studied past years and found those over the age of 75 need to take special precautions. Americans between 75 and 85 have double the chance of suffering a non-fatal injury in the bathroom than the average person. And those above the age of 85 are susceptible to 4 times the chance of injury in the bathroom. With a majority of these injuries occurring near the toilet.
The cause of this increased danger should be relatively clear. Bathrooms have many hard and slippery surfaces. While the bathroom has very few sturdy bars to provide support. Falls in the bathroom can cause a range of injuries, from the minor bruise or abrasion to broken bones and head injuries. Below are a few professional recommendations to help improve balance and reduce the likelihood of suffering a fall in you or your loved one's bathroom.
• Install a Telephone
Installing a phone in the bathroom can help those who have suffered a fall get assistance quickly. Having a telephone installed in the bathroom can be a life-saving addition for those who live independently.
• Caregiver Presence
Older adults who suffer lightheadedness or dizziness when standing up, should have someone close by while showering or bathing.
• Routine Maintenance
Mildew and soap scum is not only unsightly but can increase slipperiness of the most anti-slip designed surface. As with other rooms, reducing unnecessary items such as magazines or containers in the bathroom will help to lessen the chance of tripping. This clean up goes for old bath mats and decals which many times can become tripping hazards themselves.
Make sure that the bathroom's door swings out. Following a fall an inward opening door may cause a serious obstacle for first responders or caregivers to reach the fallen individual.
Inspect the lane to the bathroom a night. Many times a dark, poorly lit, half awake-walk during a nighttime visit can result in tripping and falling. Simple night lights in the path to the bathroom and the bathroom as well help reduce the likelihood of falling.
• Water Temperature 120 Degrees or Lower
Older adults may have a difficult time realizing that the water has become dangerously hot. The insensitivity to hot water can be as a result of their medication, medical condition, or neurological damage. It is important to mark the shower's controls and make adjustments to the water's control limits and prevent any unnecessary burns.
• Raise the Toilet Seat
There a variety of methods to increase the height of the toilet seat. Many different seats can be attached and even locked onto the toilet's existing seat.
Raised toilet seats can add between 2" to 5". There is also the Toilevator which offers the alternative option of raising the toilet's base up to an additional 3.5".
• Add Toilet Grab Arms
Toilet grab arms give an extra bit of support when standing up and sitting down at shoulder width. Many times this has the bonus of adding a sturdy grab bar in the vicinity of the toilet.
• Power Toilet Seat Lift
The TILT, toilet incline lift, is the ideal solution to help individuals stand up from and sit down on the toilet. The powered seat only takes between 15-20 seconds to lift and lower.
• Transfer Bench
There are a variety of different bathroom transfer benches designed to assist with moving over the lip of the tub.
Many have slidable, rotating seats for friction free entrances and exits from the bathtub.
• Mangar Bathing Cushion
Portable and lightweight the Mangar Bathing Cushion has helped many people have a traditional bathing experience. The air powered cushion deflates and inflates below the user for a comfortable and safe bath.
Use the Mangar Bathing Cushion in conjunction with one of these other items for easy entrance and exit.
• Tub Attached Grab Bars
• Mangar Archimedes Bath Lift
The Mangar Archimedes Bath Lift's solid back offers unmatched stability and back support while bathing.
Easy to install and operate the Archimedes is designed for comfort and convenience.
• Shower Chair
Adding an extra sturdy shower chair can give the extra help your loved one needs. Either sitting in the shower seat and using a hand help shower or only using it as a place to take a rest mid-shower.
There are a variety of shower chairs available to meet you or your loved one's particular needs.
Showers are often designed with very smooth and sharp angles, making it challenging to reach for and grab something while showering. Shower grab bars now can be intended to replace the shower's fixtures for strengthened, understated support.
• Tub attached grab bar
Staying in balance while stepping out of the tub requires an extra hand or two. But many tubs are not designed to help with the entrance and exit.
Installing an easy to use tub attached grab bar will make sure the transfer is comfortable and safe.
Rather than stepping into and out of the tub, just slide across in a bathroom transfer bench.
Many bench's seats can have swivel and slide into the bathtub.
• Grab Bars
Install a grab bar to the right or left of the shower door to avoid any slipping.
Often time the wet tile, older bath mat, or reduced mobility can make that first step a little unsure.
• Tension poles
Tension poles give stability in the areas where a grab bar cannot be installed.
Reduce dangerous water spillage and reduce falls.
Use collapsible water dams for all types of curbless showers that require water control.
• Raised Toilet Seat
• Grab Bars
A grab bar installed next to the toilet can provide the extra support you need standing or sitting down.
• Pull-Cord Alert System
• Personal Paging System
Wear a call button or keep a call button in the bathroom for easy access. When the call button is activated the call button will alert the caregiver's pager up to 150 feet away.
Staying safe without sacrificing safety.
Live Oak Med hopes that these initiatives and products will help you or your loved one stay safe and mobile in the bathroom. With rate of injury in the bathroom, staying safe in the bathroom will help preserve daily independence and well-being. Please contact us today to see how we can help provide additional support and safety in your bathroom.
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