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Recovery from hip surgery - improvising a bungalow

Brasidas

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My aunt had a serious fall and needed hip surgery this week, this is aggravated by her hip being shattered and patched together with titanium a long time ago. I really want her to have a good recovery, and may be flying out to help get the house ready for her to come home. I'd appreciate thoughts on how to do that.

I'd think that a bungalow would be the ideal setup, as stairs will be painful and dangerous. But both the bedroom and bathroom are upstairs.

She lives with her husband; she's in her mid-sixties, he's about 70. He's not up to a lot of moving heavy stuff and she's not going to be up to much of anything.

At a minimum, I think grab bars will need to be installed for the toilet. I'd like to look into an indoor compost toilet or something, along with a bed to crash in downstairs.

Here's something I was thinking of for the toilet, with a partition screen:

http://kk.org/cooltools/humanure-handbook-sawdust-composting-toilet/

How comfortable or practical would a futon be? There's a couch she might be able to use, but I think it's a little short.

My intent would be to maybe go for a few days, lend a hand and get her settled, and have the two of them be able to rearrange things back to normal on their own. They couldn't do that if we moved the bed downstairs.

Thanks for your thoughts, everybody.
 

Kat Stevens

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Futons are without a doubt the most agonizing thing in the world for anyone over 25 to sleep on, unless it's one of the wooden slat variety, with a thicker top. Don't even look at metal ones, they were patented by Torquemada Industries about 450 years ago.  Can't help much with the composter bog, but I've heard good things, and if used properly are supposed to be relatively odour free.  What about bathing?  Bird bath for six months?
 

Staff Weenie

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Without knowing what Province we're talking about, my generic advice would be to get hold of the services of an Occupational Therapist (OT). They can do an in-home assessment to determine what is required to allow your Aunt to conduct 'activities of daily living' and 'independent activities of daily living.'  In essence, they will recommend ways to achieve barrier free living. They can provide advice on short-term and long term solutions for the home. Some or all of the recommendations of the OT may be covered by Provincial heath care, or by private health insurance. 

As for undertaking the work yourself, it can be done, but make sure it is done properly.  For example, grab bars cannot just be screwed into drywall.  Many contractors will actually put a sheet of plywood onto the wall, and attach the grab bars to that. There are also contractors that specialize in renovations to create barrier-free homes.

Good luck and all the best.
 

Brasidas

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Staff Weenie said:
Without knowing what Province we're talking about, my generic advice would be to get hold of the services of an Occupational Therapist (OT). They can do an in-home assessment to determine what is required to allow your Aunt to conduct 'activities of daily living' and 'independent activities of daily living.'  In essence, they will recommend ways to achieve barrier free living. They can provide advice on short-term and long term solutions for the home. Some or all of the recommendations of the OT may be covered by Provincial heath care, or by private health insurance. 

As for undertaking the work yourself, it can be done, but make sure it is done properly.  For example, grab bars cannot just be screwed into drywall.  Many contractors will actually put a sheet of plywood onto the wall, and attach the grab bars to that. There are also contractors that specialize in renovations to create barrier-free homes.

Good luck and all the best.

We're talking Ontario (I'm in the west), and she's apparently home today.

Small enough town that there isn't a walmart. They have negligible contacts in the community, medical or contractor-wise.

Found one occupational therapist that does keep some office hours there.

She's a well-meaning but domineering, crotchety old lady on heavy meds, who will attempt to control any conversations at the house. Any further particular points for him to outline and ensure are covered with either the OT or contractor?
 

Staff Weenie

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From the OT reports I have read, they use a template to get to know the client, and their degree of mobility, etc. Then, they assess their abiltiy to conduct basic activities like cook, use the toilet, bathe themselves, etc - some of the reports have a series of checklists they cover in creating their final report. Even things like ensuring their are two points of egress usable in case of a fire.

I would say the big thing is to cover the immediate concerns - i.e. is the house safe for her to be in right now, and what steps in the very short term can correct that. Then, look at the longer term care issues. Not to be too discouraging, but often the best solution is to move into a bungalow and have it modified. Sometimes even moving to a larger community where there is greater health care resources and social support available. Also look at transportation.  If they are fairly rural, then something like Paratranspo will be limited at best. Do they need modifications to their vehicle as well?

People who have lived in chronic pain and disability for a long period of time often experience depression, and with that anger, social isolation, etc. A good OT knows and recognizes this.
 

mariomike

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Brasidas said:
She's a well-meaning but domineering, crotchety old lady on heavy meds, who will attempt to control any conversations at the house.

I met a few of those on the job. Many were in need of additional health care or support services. We referred them to the Community Care Access Centre ( CCAC ) for further assessment and determination of the types of service best suited to their needs.

Brasidas said:
They have negligible contacts in the community, medical or contractor-wise.

Community Care Access Centres services include,

•CCACs employ case managers who assess client eligibility for visiting health and support services; develop, monitor, and adjust service plans as required; and authorize services.
•CCACs coordinate access to contracted nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, social work, dietetic services, pharmacy services, diagnostic and laboratory services, respiratory therapy, social work, social service work, personal support and homemaking services from local agencies.
•CCACs provide additional support for clients who receive in-home professional health-services by purchasing or renting medical supplies and dressings, hospital and sickroom equipment, laboratory and diagnostic services.
•CCACs  may also train other persons, such as caregivers, to assist with or provide certain of the above services to a particular client.
•CCACs arrange for the provision of drug benefits to eligible persons.
•The above services are available on a short-term basis to help people returning home from hospital and to support people through their recovery from an illness or accident.

•The services are available on a long-term basis to assist people with disabilities or chronic health problems and to provide palliative care to the terminally ill.
•Where it is appropriate, some of the above services may be delivered in a group or congregate setting, such as a day program.
http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/contact/ccac/ccac_facts.aspx#

•Community Care Access Centres are required to provide comprehensive information to people in their communities about options for services not provided by the CCACs, and other community support services available.

Brasidas said:
We're talking Ontario

"To find your local Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), please refer to the maps or enter your postal code in the search below."​
http://healthcareathome.ca/
 

cphansen

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Based on my own experience, the first suggestion I would make is get two walkers, one for downstairs and one for upstairs. Hualing the walker from downstairs to upstairs can be a real PITA.

To get up and downstairs, get one of those chairs which climb the stairs.  for the kitchen get a stool, a high stool, perferablly on wheels.  As for a bed get a high bed so she can sit on the bed and just stand up.  It will give her back a measure of control and she will like that.

In the long term, change the bathroom by making sure the toilet is as high as it can be, either by buying a new toilet or building a platform to raise the toilet.  Also get rid of the bathtub by putting in a good shower, or if the floor will take it, put in a sit down shower tub. I believe the sit down shower tub will be more to her liking.  Make sure to put some rubber ducky stick ons so she won''t slip.  She will once again have some control and that will improve her state of mind.

The final thing I would suggest either build a sun room or put in a large bay window where she and her husband can enjoy the outside view, and get her a lift chair to make it easier for her to get in and out of the chair.  It is very frustrating to be stuck in a chair because you cant bend your knees.

Your aunt sounds very much like my mother.  One of the things you need to watch is that she gets out for things like haircuts.

Make sure you contact the CCAC, they can be a real help, maybe they can get her involved in a local support group

I hope these things can give you some ideas and will make life better for your aunt 
 
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