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Spinal Cord Injury: Adapting Your Home

Topic Overview

When you leave a rehabilitation (rehab) center for your home after a spinal cord injury (SCI), you need to have your home ready for your special needs. Following are some of the adaptations and adaptive equipment you may need. Talk with your rehab team about what you will need specifically and the best way to proceed.

  • Wheelchair fit. If you are in a wheelchair most of the time, height and width are a concern. You may need to build a ramp into your home for easy entry in your wheelchair. Discuss with your rehab team how best to deal with hall and door width, countertops, water faucets, sinks, towel racks, light switches, and heating and cooling controls.
  • Eating and cooking. You may need special handles so you can hold spoons, forks, knives, plates, cups, and other utensils. You may need long straws to help you drink. If you cook, you may need a shorter stove, or you can install a mirror over the stove so you can see the food while it is cooking.
  • Dressing and grooming. You may need tools to help you reach your feet, pull on socks, zip up zippers, and open and close buttons. You may also need Velcro fasteners for clothing or shoes, loops in your clothing to help you dress and undress, sponges or bath mitts, and special handles for toothbrushes, combs, razors, and hairbrushes. You may also need special mirrors.
  • Other adaptive equipment includes tools that help you pick up faraway things (reachers) and small objects (if you have little pinch strength). You may also need holders for telephones, pens, and pencils, and devices to turn on and adjust electric appliances such as radios, TVs, and computers.

For more information on adapting your lifestyle and home, contact any of the groups or Internet sites listed in the Other Places to Get Help section of the topic Living With a Spinal Cord Injury.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Nancy Greenwald, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Last Revised February 15, 2013

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