Harmony at Home-How to Improve Home Care Quality with a Customized Approach to Medical Equipment
This harmony-at-home approach is not for all caregivers — not for those who believe that Medicare will cover all of their medical equipment needs.
So, how can caregivers fill the Medicare coverage gaps?
This article will focus on the solutions that will allow caregivers to provide the quality home care that the elderly expect through a custom approach to medical equipment — based on need, environment, and mobility goals.
While this is best achieved with our staff at our Vista, CA (North County San Diego), and central San Diego staff present, we can work remotely and advise, sell, and even in some case setup in other cities.
Harmony at Home: Why Caregivers Need This Approach
This approach goes beyond medical equipment so that the elderly can keep living where they want to be — in harmony.
Why harmony at home?
Harmony can be defined as “the combination of separate but related parts in a way that uses their similarities to bring unity” to something. Growing old can disrupt the harmony of the home environment — unless that unity is restored.
Custom medical solutions can provide that unity, bringing together the performance of quality medical equipment with the patient-centered approach of home care services.
The result? A harmonious age in place solution that improves mobility for the elderly and provides them with the quality of life they deserve.
Bonus Material: New to caregiving? Subscribe to our newsletter and stay in the loop with our latest news and updates.
The 3 Steps to Creating Harmony at Home Through Custom Medical Solutions
There are three steps to improving seniors home care with custom medical solutions that will allow them to grow old in harmony and at home:
Step 1: Determine the mobility, safety, and comfort needs of each patient
Step 2: Analyze the home environment and adjust accordingly
Step 3: Create a lasting ability to improve home care through custom medical solutions
Below is a breakdown of how every part of the strategy works.
Once you follow through with these steps, you will notice how they all add up and complement each other, leading to an effective aging-in-place strategy.
Step 1: Determine the Mobility, Safety, and Comfort Needs of Each Patient
Aging comes with challenges. And the biggest of them all is maintaining independence while growing older in a familiarized setting. According to a survey conducted by the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization AARP, nearly 80 percent of adults aged 50 and older prefer to remain in their current homes and communities as they age.
The truth is — there is no place like home.
As a caregiver, you know how important it is for your patients to age in the comfort of their homes. Where they lived more than 40 years, know every crack and spiderweb, and walk around with their eyes closed. If only they could.
The good news is that by determining the needs of each patient, aging-in-place might be just within the realm of possibility.
Here are the things you need to consider to make this a reality:
● Plan Ahead
Begin by looking at any illnesses that might affect someone’s ability to get around or take care of themselves. As caregivers, learn how you can get them the support they need to stay in their own home and establish what affects them the most. For example, older people might experience:
- Major illness or diagnosis of mobility-impairing disease
- Reduced vision and hearing
- Decreased muscle strength or endurance
- Reduced mental processing capabilities
- Increased risk of falls due to imbalance
- Lingering effects of an accident or injury
All of these lead to decreased mobility and become life-threatening hazards if the elderly are left unattended or without external help. Discovering these beforehand might help you get a clearer picture of what is to come.
● Set Your Mobility Goals
Most individuals feel forced to leave their own homes when growing old. Their mobility becomes limited and their own house turns against them. And this is hardly surprising! According to statistics, only 1% of homes are conducive to aging-in-place. Therefore, to make homes friendly and more optimized for this period of life, you’ll need to think proactively and long-term.
What do we mean by setting your mobility goals?
Take into consideration essential medical equipment products that will allow for good mobility and help maintain the elderly’s quality of life. More specifically:
➔ Grab Bars
According to CDC statistics, every year nearly three million seniors end up visiting the emergency room due to injuries caused by falls. Slippery and wet surfaces combined with the inability to get around like they used to, create a dangerous mix for the elderly. Especially when it comes to bathrooms and showers — these become menacing places growing old.
Fortunately, having grab bars installed around the house can reduce the chances of an accident such as falls and slips. Moreover, they offer greater peace of mind and better harmony for seniors to move around their homes.
Grab bars are incredibly versatile and come in three types: vertical, horizontal, and diagonal.
- Vertical grab bars are easy to grip and help with limited balance, especially for patients with arthritis.
- Horizontal bars have a larger coverage on the wall and provide the best support when walking or when pulling up to stand from a wheelchair. For example, to get into a tub. Unlike vertical bars, which can be installed at more flexible heights, these are limited to a fixed height.
- Diagonal grab bars allow a smoother transition from sitting to standing, thanks to the fact that these accommodate several different heights.
Choosing the right grab bars for your home depends solely on your mobility needs.
Chairlifts for stairs, also called stairlifts are some of the quickest and cost-effective aging-in-place options. They make a hassle-free and efficient way to access multi-level homes while keeping those with limited mobility safe.
Stairlifts are also easy to operate for most users and make a comfortable ride. But most importantly: they’re flexible. Meaning, they can be adapted to fit straight and curved railings as well as tight turns or narrow staircases.
There are three types of chairlifts:
- Straight chairlifts allow up and down transportation and are one of the simplest and most affordable types of stairlifts.
- Curved chairlifts are ideal for homes with curved staircases. They do a great job to go around bends and tight turns.
- Outdoor chairlifts can come in handy for homes with stairs at the entrance. These are made of stainless steel to repel rust. Put straightforwardly — they are resistant to the toughest weather conditions.
The installation of stairlifts helps to adjust homes to fit seniors’ needs and comforts, restores their independence, and brings patients a step closer to growing old in harmony at home.
➔ Shower Chairs
When it comes to bath safety solutions for the elderly, shower chairs are the best. These make bathing less terrifying by reducing the risk of accidents like falling, getting bumps, bruises, or slipping.
Aside from improving safety, installing a shower chair benefits seniors by making the bathing process a lot easier and more independent. This plays a critical part in improving hygiene, otherwise neglected because of the fear of falling.
➔ Transfer Benches
Those who use canes, walkers, or wheelchairs will find transfer benches an excellent product that restores their independence and provides security to get around the bathroom.
➔ Wheelchair Ramps
Wheelchair ramps are a gem when it comes to traveling by car, moving out or around the house, and accessing buildings freely. A wheelchair ramp is an inclined plane that substitutes stairs to make it easier for people using wheelchairs to access buildings without the danger of injuries.
There are three types of wheelchair ramps:
- Portable wheelchair ramps are self-explanatory; they are the ramps that can be moved around and enable people to enjoy complete freedom. Caregivers use them in vans to load or unload wheelchairs or other mobility devices when traveling with their patients to different locations.
- Semi-permanent ramps can be removed and reconfigured as desired.
- Permanent ramps are bolted and cemented into the ground.
Caregivers or family members who live with people with reduced mobility will find portable wheelchair ramps particularly advantageous. Thanks to these ramps, going on trips to medical facilities, shopping, or simply leaving home for a breath of fresh air becomes even more comfortable and safe.
➔ Mobility Walkers
Mobility walkers do wonders for seniors who want to maintain a more independent lifestyle, especially when home alone. Aside from freedom, these devices provide greater mobility, reduced risk of falling, reduced pain, and increased self-confidence.
A basic walker consists of a 3-sided solid frame that surrounds the person using it. It is approachable and easy to wield. The user just needs to grab the frame with their hands, place it farther in front of them, then step forward and repeat the process.
Beyond the basic model, there are three types of mobility walkers:
- A rollator is a walker with a seat that has a frame with four wheels, handlebars, and a seat for the user to rest if needed. They also include hand brakes for safety.
- Knee walkers are similar to rollators, except they have a padded cushion to rest one knee while allowing the user to propel forward with the stronger leg.
- Walker-cane hybrids are meant to provide greater support than a standard cane. They have two legs instead of a full-frame.
➔ Hospital Bed in our Vista, CA store as well as Kearny Mesa in San Diego
Choosing a hospital bed at home benefits the safety of both the user and the caregiver. This type of bed is equipped with special functions and features that uphold the comfort and safety of the occupant. Some of these features and functions include adjustable rails on both sides and height mechanisms to raise and lower the head, feet, and even the entire bed.
Hospital beds at home are advantageous in a way that helps elders maintain their quality of life and enjoy a sense of independence. Moreover, they relieve caregivers of the difficulties of raising the bed at a convenient height to attend to their patients appropriately.
Planning ahead and establishing the mobility needs are just the initial steps. There is more to that. Read on to discover what your next action should be.
Step 2: Analyze the Home Environment and Adjust Accordingly
Not every home is built to get around easily. With most houses in the US having two levels and front steps, climbing stairs becomes more like a hike to Mount Everest. These houses are just not suitable for elders to conquer. And without external help, many seniors are at risk of accidents.
The truth is — unless you adapt the environment according to the needs of each patient, aging in place becomes far out of reach.
Our harmony-at-home approach solution consists of accurate research, analyzing the home environment, and adjusting it accordingly.
In order to decide what modifications the house needs, assess how it is built and what might be an impediment to the patient’s mobility.
These are some of the questions you should ask first:
Is it a two-level house? Do your patients have easy access to the bathroom and bedroom? Can they easily access the house? Or the entrance is too steep and might be the cause of a fall?
Based on your answers, decide what modifications the home requires to ensure the safety of the elderly. Simply put, make sure to take into consideration every potential obstacle.
We’ve made a detailed harmony-at-home checklist where we will explain exactly what you need to do.
➔ Allow at Least One Stairless Entrance In the House
The first barrier that seniors may encounter is accessing the house at all.
If there is no stairless backdoor or garage entrance, the best solution is to eliminate stairs or make additional changes.
The latter is more practical. It involves fitting a wheelchair ramp, a handrail, or even an outdoor stairlift. This depends on the mobility needs we established in the first step of this harmony-at-home approach.
➔ Ensure the House Is Adequately Lit
Eliminating common hazards must come first. In our case – poor lightning. It can represent a hazard for anyone in a home, especially for older people. So make sure to have strong overhead lights that can be turned on with just the flip of a switch. Or even better — using voice control.
➔ Make the Bathroom a Safe Place
The bathroom is one of the most hazardous rooms in a home, especially for the elderly. They have reduced stability and increased chances of slipping and falling. In particular, when getting out of the bathtub or using the toilet.
As such, the first option would be to retrofit the bathroom by adding safety bars, purchasing a transfer bench, or even installing a shower chair. These will enable the safe use of bathroom amenities.
➔ Ensure Access to Essential Rooms
In today’s modern houses, it’s common to find the bedroom and bathroom situated upstairs. If this is the case, anticipating what house areas might be challenging to access is vital. Not only will this ensure the safety of elders but will also provide them with greater independence.
Installing stairlifts into two-level homes might be the solution you were looking for.
Already decided what adaptations your house needs? Read on to discover the final step that will solidify your aging-in-place plan.
Step 3: Create a Lasting Ability to Improve Home Care Through Custom Medical Solutions
It cannot be overstated: remaining in a familiar setting is a priority for every senior.
Now let’s recap the first two steps. One – determine the mobility and comfort needs. And two – analyze the home environment. The next step is to choose the suitable medical equipment and services that will properly equip seniors and create a lasting ability to age in place gracefully. For a successful outcome, take into consideration these three key aspects:
- Medical suppliers
- Customized solutions
- Financial resources
➔ Choose Trusted Medical Suppliers
Find a medical supplier that is professional, honest, and determined to offer support every time a patient demands it. Someone who will assist you in figuring out exactly what your patient needs and help eliminate the barriers that would otherwise affect the possibility of growing old at home. Read on to learn how to find the perfect fit when it comes to medical suppliers.
How to choose a home care medical equipment supplier?
- Meet them in person to see if they’re a good fit. Home remodeling and installing equipment take time. So, make sure you choose a supplier that puts your patient’s needs first, responds to all your questions patiently, and communicates clearly. Keep in mind that you’ll be working together for weeks or maybe months.
- Analyze reviews. This means looking for customers who have completed projects similar to yours. Learn how satisfied they were with the outcome and the collaboration in general. You can do that by checking trusted websites, Google reviews, or reading comments from past customers.
- Ask if they provide customized solutions. It’s imperative to establish your expectations at the beginning of the collaboration. This saves you from potential disappointments and unrealistic expectations.
- Make sure they are certified age-in-place specialists. It’s imperative to check if those who will carry out your homecare adjustments and sell mobility equipment are certified to do this job. If the information is not publicly displayed, ask for a copy of their license.
Now that you have decided on your medical supplier, read on to discover what to do next.
➔ Approach Professionals to Assess Your House and Provide Customized Solutions
Specific needs require customized solutions. So, seeking medical suppliers that provide home consultations, therefore, is the best idea. They can help you figure out what adjustments your patient’s house needs and then combine medical equipment with custom modifications necessary for the mobility care requirements.
Wheelchairs, walkers, and other mobility devices – all of them require specific adjustments in a home.
By approaching professionals to assess the house and provide customized solutions – aging in harmony at home becomes real. While this approach makes homes completely secure for aging in place, it also reduces the stress of the transition.
What happens during the house assessment?
This process involves a team of experts coming to your patient’s home. They'll ask questions and walk around with them to better understand their struggles. So make sure they are aware of everything your patient finds difficult, even small things such as opening a cupboard or accessing kitchenware.
After this discussion, the medical supplier will offer accessible design consulting and equipment expertise, which will ultimately transform your patient’s home into the “forever home”.
➔ Have a Clear Image of the Financial Resources
Remodeling a house can be expensive but still be more affordable than moving to specialized institutions. Your patient just needs good financial planning for aging in place to be cost-effective.
Therefore, arranging a meeting with a trusted family member and a banker might help them to better understand their financial status and make a decision.
Patients can also take into consideration additional financial resources:
- State and local grants that provide financial assistance for home modifications.
- Veteran grants. These are government grants that contribute financially to help veterans eliminate mobility barriers and adapt their homes to mobility devices.
- Home equity loans represent another option for additional financial support. These types of loans allow homeowners to borrow against the equity they’ve built up in their homes through a lender.
Want Harmony Medical Supply to Take Over?
If you need someone to help your elder patients improve their quality of life, Harmony is your aging-in-place superstar.
We dedicated our lives to helping elders enjoy the life they deserve by providing durable mobility equipment and customized solutions that enable them to grow old at home, free from unnecessary challenges.
Whether it’s a mobility aid device, comfort products, or bathroom safety equipment, we can help you navigate every challenge successfully.
Harmony Home Medical Serves as Your Source for Quality Home Care Medical Supplies
Our harmony-at-home approach is simple. First, we start by identifying the mobility needs of our customers and offer the best-customized solutions. Next, we turn your home into a secure place. Finally, we make sure you’re 100% satisfied and live a danger-free life.
What you need to be successful:
- Go beyond Medicare when it comes to medical equipment needs
- Be ready to adopt a holistic approach that includes products and services
- Adjust the house according to the need, environment, and mobility goals of each patient
Harmony medical equipment can boost the quality of life, speed up recovery, and encourage a sense of independence among patients who decide to remain at home while growing old.
Book a free consultation today or visit us in-store and we’ll help you understand all your options. We service all of San Diego County including: Vista, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, Escondido, Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, Bonsall, and Fallbrook