A spinal cord injury can be an adjustment for the whole family. Almost half of those who suffer a spinal cord injury need some type of assistance. Sometimes it’s minimal. But taking care of someone with this type of injury can also be a big job. If you’re caring for a loved one with a spinal cord injury, a beginner’s guide can be helpful.
Preparing your home for someone with a spinal cord injury
Before your loved one comes home from the hospital, go through your house.
- Remove all throw rugs, which can make maneuvering in a wheelchair difficult.
- Remove all but the essentials from the kitchen and the bathrooms, and install grab bars in the bathrooms.
- Make sure your fire detectors are in working order, and have fire extinguishers on hand.
- Make sure you and your loved one have a safe route out of your home in the event of an emergency.
- Draw up a checklist of more extensive retrofits that your home may need, and prioritize them.
Preparing yourself for the job
Many hospitals provide visiting nurses and therapists for a short time after a patient is released. When they visit your home, make sure you are thoroughly versed in all aspects of your loved one’s care, such as treating pressure sores and maintaining breathing equipment.
Your visiting nurse may be able to give you the names of businesses in your area that provide hourly companions. If you can’t afford a full-time personal care attendant, a companion can come in a few hours each week and do the tasks that you can’t get to, such as shampooing your loved one’s hair or doing the laundry. Having someone come in can also give you a breather — a chance to get out of the house and see your friends or go to the salon.
Taking care of yourself
Just as important as caring for a loved one is caring for yourself. Adopt a healthy lifestyle, with regular sleeping hours, a good diet and exercise. Learn how to recognize the symptoms of stress and depression. If necessary, see a counselor. If you don’t stay healthy, you can’t take care of your loved one.
AtPower Mobility and Lifts, we can help to make your job easier by seeing to it that your loved one has the mobility equipment he needs. Contact us. We serve clients throughout Arizona.
Image via Shutterstock.com