Stroke Connection - September/October 2007 - (Page 34)
E V E RY DAY S U R V I VA L it makes the adjacent room unusable for its existing purpose. Sometimes interior expansion is not feasible due to the location of load-bearing walls or the complexity of relocating plumbing, ductwork or wiring in the wall. If the bathroom is on an exterior wall, you may consider expanding the bathroom by bumping out the exterior wall. This is obviously a more costly project. In almost all cases, a bathroom expansion will require permits and skilled tradespeople. Grooming tasks Having an appropriate workspace in the bathroom is important for grooming. At the sink, install a single-lever faucet so that you can easily control water temperature and pressure with one hand. If you feel safer or if grooming tasks are easier to perform while seated, replace a pedestal sink or vanity with a shallow, wall-mounted sink installed so that you can sit with your legs (and wheelchair leg rests) under the sink. Have the mirror lowered or install a retractable (accordion style) wall-mounted mirror so that you have a mirror at the appropriate height and distance to shave or apply makeup. Be sure to have a “pipe sleeve” installed on the drain pipe below the sink to protect your legs from the pipe, which becomes hot when hot water is draining from the sink. Have storage for grooming supplies and towel racks installed to the side so you can reach towels and tools while seated. Installation of a sink-mounted or wall-mounted soap dispenser makes dispensing easier if you must use one hand. Most of these modiﬁcations are within the skills of a home handyperson, but installing a new sink may require a plumber, especially if a sink is being located in a new spot. Toileting The toilet is usually the lowest “seat” in the house. This may make it challenging to transfer to and from the toilet. The seat can be raised three ways: 1: A seat elevator that attaches to the bowl and raises the seat several inches (see photo on p. 35) is the least expensive solution, and installation requires only a screwdriver. 2: A toilet elevator that mounts between the ﬂoor and the toilet (see photo on p. 35) is more expensive, but may be more aesthetically pleasing as the “normal” Wall-mounted sinks are more accessible and single-lever faucets are easier to operate with one hand. Moving about in the bathroom In homes built before 1960, bathrooms are very small, and ﬁxtures may be placed so that they can’t be accessed using a walker. In some cases, this can be solved by installing a railing or long grab bar for support to move through the narrow area to the toilet (if you are able to transition from walking with the walker to walking using the railings). This solution requires some handyperson skills. In homes built in 1970 or after, there is usually adequate passage between the ﬁxtures to allow use of a walker in the bathroom. If you use a wheelchair, there is seldom room in a home bathroom to maneuver between ﬁxtures. Depending on the conﬁguration, you may be able to access one and even two ﬁxtures, but to access the sink, toilet and tub/shower, it is necessary to enlarge the bathroom or half-bath. Sometimes this can be accomplished by expanding into a closet, either in the bathroom or in an adjacent room. Relocating or adding a doorway should be considered when planning to enlarge a bathroom, as this may signiﬁcantly improve access and reduce effort. When there is no adjacent closet, expansion may involve expanding into an existing room or “bumping out” an exterior wall. Expansion into an adjacent room is less complex and costly, but may be undesirable if 34 S T R O K E C O N N E C T I O N S ep te m b e r | O c to b e r 2 0 07
If you would like to try to load the digital publication without using Flash Player detection, please click here.