Monday, March 24, 2014

Shoes and Quality of Life

I recently met with Jack Pietenpol of Diabetic Outreach to learn more about how shoes play a pivotal role in the quality of life.  As a professional who helps with accessibility and safety in the home, I was aware of how shoes affect balance and mobility.  I wanted to learn more about what makes a shoe fit well and where people can go for customized shoes.   Jack was a terrific help and I know you will a learn a lot from the interview like I did.

People with diabetes and many other medical conditions really need the exercise of walking.  Shoe choice and fit may make the difference in how safely a person moves around and how comfortable they are moving which affects the amount of walking or exercising they choose to do.   Jack covered some of the features in the therapeutic shoes he fits that contribute to skin health and balance.   He also shared some helpful tips: 

Don't assume your size never changes over time and from brand to brand.  Shoes should always be measured whenever you go to a shoe store and if all possible, have your fitting done late in the afternoon. This is because, no matter how healthy we are, feet tend to swell as the day goes on.

Shoes do not last forever. Shoes may be aesthetically pleasing, but time brings odor, bacteria and worn out support from the abuse. You may not be able to see how the support is worn, but if you wear your shoes seven days a week, Jack states that they will only last about 18 months. 

Avoid premature aging. A great tip that jack offers is to have a at least a second pair of shoes that you can switch out to ensure your other shoe is airing out in order to prevent premature breakdown.

The footwear that Jack handles is classified as therapeutic, however anyone can wear them for support, comfort and to accommodate depth issues. When you make an appointment with Jack, you will complete a 15-30 minute evaluation that will determine your goals, your level of ambulation, the footwear you seek and what you expect out of that footwear. From there, Jack will determine what type shoe fits you best.

Custom fitted shoes sound great, but people often wonder how they price in comparison to normal shoes.  I was amazed to find they were less than I thought they'd be. They are certainly worth checking into if a person is walking less because of pain or discomfort.  As Jack explains, in some cases, Medicare and Medicaid will cover the costs once a year.

If you have any questions for Jack, his phone number is (402) 477-1110. Jack also offers in-home appointments for patients with mobility and transportation issues! 

Would you refer us to your friends? If you have any friends, family, or co-workers who would benefit from our home accessibility solutions would you make sure they know about us? We really appreciate your referrals - we'll take excellent care of them!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Grab Bars: Proper Location and Installation May Be the One Thing Keeping You From Misfortune!

Grab Bars: Proper Location and Installation May Be the One Thing Keeping You From Misfortune!
As you know, I am always telling people that the location of the Grab Bar is critically important. The location is determined by the person’s medical condition, their abilities, where they’re having difficulties in the process of sitting down and standing up, their level of balance and the surrounding environment. However, we can’t forget the basics! How can you tell if the grab bar is installed properly until it actually comes out unexpectedly?

You are the mercy of the people performing the installation. Grab Bars need to be secured into the structure of the house, like a stud, or use new technology that has been tested and proven to hold the weight of human beings when they’re holding on and moving quickly. The grab bar and the way it’s installed may the only sitting between you and a future catastrophe!

Use trained installers who work as part of a team to not only get the bar where it is needed, but also have the knowledge to make sure that it stays where it is needed.

Thanks and have a great day!

Would you refer us to your friends? If you have any friends, family, or co-workers who would benefit from our home accessibility solutions would you make sure they know about us? We really appreciate your referrals - we'll take excellent care of them!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Proper Training: Correct Training Provides for Safe Care!

Would you refer us to your friends? If you have any friends, family, or co-workers who would benefit from our home accessibility solutions would you reach out to us with their contact information? We really appreciate your referrals - we'll take excellent care of them!

Proper Training: No one can afford to learn from trial and error

Today I wanted to talk to you about the importance of training on new equipment. You could have the best equipment possible, and it may not perform how you  expect it to unless you how to use it properly. Total Home Access Solutions offers on-site training for people with our equipment once it’s installed.  We train family and professional caregivers in how to get the best use of our equipment. Even experienced professional caregivers benefit from training on new equipment. We cover how the equipment works, practice using it, and cover basic troubleshooting and maintenance. This takes time on our part compared to services that simply drop ship or just delivery and hand you the owner's manual.  We think it is worth it. You can't afford to learn from trial and error when you are using equipment in healthcare.   

We love to participate as team members with our client's and their care givers. For example, in this video we are working in one of our client's home with her care staff from Prestige Premium Homecare in Omaha, 402-933-1694, on how to  use a portable ceiling lift from SureHands Lift and Care systems. The SureHands system is not hard to use, but the person being lifted and the caregiver benefit from learning good techniques and from understanding how the equipment works. During training, even people who have used lifts before learned some things that were unique to using this type of lift system, techniques that were specific to this client, and methods of working in her bedroom and bathroom needed to work around furniture and fixtures. We believe that our training has helped make safe transfers even more comfortable for the person being lifted and the staff working with them.

Please, share the news and share the video! Proper training with equipment after it is installed is just as important as selecting the right equipment in the first place. Thanks and have a great day!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Changing Your Daily Routine: We Make this Strenuous Process Easy for You!

Changing Your Daily Routine: We Make this Strenuous Process Easy for You!

Would you refer us to your friends? If you have any friends, family, or co-workers who would benefit from our home accessibility solutions would you reply to this email with their contact information? We really appreciate your referrals - we'll take excellent care of them!

At Total Home Access Solutions, I work with people who have to change the way they’re doing things and try new equipment; it is sometimes a scary process! I like to believe that we are comfortable to work with and that we help people feel good about using new tools and equipment to allow them to do what is important to them.

As you can see in the video, our client had a very small bathroom so we had to conserve as much space as possible. Since he only has the use of one side of his body, we introduced him to this clamp-on, sliding tub transfer bench. This ensures adequate space in front of the toilet, no trip hazards and that he has enough space to maneuver himself in and out of the tub.

With the toilet seat elevated and using one side of the toilet safety frame, our client tells that “With my disability on the right side, I am able to sit down comfortably and safely.” He went on to say that “With the height of the toilet being raised, it is working out excellent. It’s smoother and easier to where I don’t have to dip down too far.”

Our client also praised the grab bar we installed in front of the toilet. To maximize the grab bar’s effectiveness, we used the clamp-on sliding tub transfer bench. Our client tells us that this has created a safer, easier shower experience in comparison to his previous method of freestanding. He also commented on how well the support of the transfer bench is working out for him.

As for working with me and Total Home Access Solutions, our client applauded us for our ease and willingness to answer any of his questions as soon as they arose. He added that the entire process was easy, relaxing and an overall wonderful experience.

Please share the news and share this video! We know it can sometimes be uncomfortable changing the way you do something, however choosing the right people to work with will make you feel comfortable, explain enough, show you enough, train you and life will be good.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Technology Can Make Staying at Home Possible: An Interview

Sharing this season with loved ones is a blessing we hope that all of you are getting to enjoy this year.   Helping people stay at home and stay with family is the core of what we strive to do, when we provide technology and home modifications.  We believe that if you can make activities of everyday living easier and safer, people will have the time and energy to accomplish great things, whether that is writing a book or being able to spend time happily with family.

We are grateful to one of our clients who has so eloquently shared how technology has made it possible for him to have more time with his family than he was afraid he might have had otherwise.  He has used technology ranging from our lift systems to commercially available computer programs to live his life well.

We strongly encourage anyone who is afraid that this might be their last season with their loved ones before aging or a disability forces them to change where they live to take hope.  It is our goal and mission, year round, to use technology to help people stay as safe and independent as possible.  More than anything else, we want people to think about what they’re going to do with their friends and family instead of how they’re going to get in and out of bed, or to the bathroom.  Getting older or a disability can turn what were once simple tasks into impossible obstacles that get between someone and what is truly important in their life.  Our technology and a few simple changes can often turn these insurmountable obstacles back into manageable hurdles.

If you or a loved one feels that they are going to be unable to stay safe or independent, we strongly encourage you to look into what technology or home modifications are available.  It will not solve every problem, but you won't know if it will help you unless you investigate your options.  We’re always happy to answer questions and provide solutions.

So please share the news, and share the video.  Technology exists that can keep people where they belong for the holidays: At home with family, friends, and other loved ones.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Automatic Door Opener

Automatic door opener

Is a power door opener a luxury or a necessity? Frankly it depends upon how much effort it takes to open the door another way. I have plenty of friends and clients who use mobility equipment who might say they've gotten used to the extra steps they use to open and close doors compared to those of us who stand and walk. We don't have to think about our balance, backing up with our mobility equipment to get out of the way when we are moving the door, or having to turn our walker or wheelchair around and approach the door again in order to close it.
Lever handles and building in some space beside the door when possible, so a person can stand or sit to the side of the door while it swings open past them are two manual ways to make opening a door easier for some people. Of course sometimes it isn't practical to provide additional space beside the door.

Two manual approaches to closing the include tying a string to the door and catching it with your hand or  wheelchair as you pass through and adding an extra handle. These pictures from shows both. When I work with people who choose to add a handle whether it is screwed in, magnetic, or suction, I strongly suggest they take the extra time to turn around and reach forward to get hold of the handle in order to protect their shoulders, but that of course takes time.

Opening and closing a door with the push of a button seems like a really good idea to me. It could protect a person with poor balance, save a person time and aggravation, and frankly make it possible for some people to handle the task on their own. Total Home Access Solutions, installs Open Sesame Power Doors in private homes and residential communities.

This American company provides a reliable door opener that is flexible enough to work with in-swinging or out swinging, right hand or left hand doors, which allows my clients to re-use their opener if they move. We can provide a variety of switches which best meet a person's requirements.  These openers don't interfere with another person's manual use of the door and charge themselves so they are always available even if the power goes out. Give us a call if you want more details about how these doors work.

Is a power door opener a luxury or a necessity? If you can't open the door any other way; If the cost of remodeling to provide room around the door exceeds the cost of a power opener; if you run the risk of falling when you operate the door; or if you would like to get through the door and close it behind you with the same effort that most people expend, I think you'll be among the people who consider a power door opener a necessity for successful independent living.

Let us know what you think!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The SureHands Lift and Care Systems Body Support Can Help with Clothing Adjustments at the toilet

It takes more than just getting into the room to be able to make use of the toilet.  You need to deal with your clothing as well.  What if you can’t stand up or balance while standing?  What if you are a caregiver for someone who depends upon you to transfer or move from one surface to another?

One solution is the SureHands Lift& Care System Body Support.  It can be used with any of the ceiling based or wall based motors.  Unlike many slings, the body support leaves the buttocks area clear during the secure transfer.  This makes this a great lift support for speedy, secure, and often independent transfers, but it is also great for clothing adjustments during toileting.

Once a person is positioned over the toilet, pants can be moved over the hips to the level of the body support.  This is easier with looser pants.  Individuals with sufficient hand strength and dexterity and  arm mobility may be able to do this themselves.  It is a relatively easy task for most caregivers.  Once the person is lowered to the toilet, the thigh and chest cuffs become loose.  As the thigh cuff is removed the pants can be pulled further down each leg.  Some caregivers find it helpful for hygiene to lift a person into the air slightly for cleaning.  Other people can accomplish cleaning while seated.

When the person is ready for pants to be pulled up, the top of the pants are gathered and pulled up as high on the thigh as possible. Work with one leg at a time.  Sometimes you will need to repeat this process.  If a person’s leg can’t be lifted high enough to clear enough space to pull the pants up, a caregiver can prop their leg up on something or lean them slightly  to the side.  The goal is to gather the pants up so that most of the fabric needed to pull over the hips is over mid thigh.  Place the thigh cuffs just below the gather of material and lift the person slightly.  With the cuffs at mid thigh the person’s buttocks will be lower than usual so best practice is to lift just high enough to clear the toilet and work fairly quickly to pull the pants up over the hips.  Depending upon how tight the pants are, this step may take a little tugging to clear any folds of fabric at the thigh cuff.   Lower to the toilet and reposition the thigh cuffs correctly as high up on the legs toward the hips as possible.

The body support makes dressing during toileting activities possible for many people.   Give us a call today if you have any questions or wish to schedule a private consultation.