Meeting Adaptive Equipment Needs for Older Adults: How Health Care Teams Can Help

    Decisions surrounding aging in place accommodations for older adults have met a great challenge due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, the desire to avoid residential care settings has increased, making home the most comfortable place for elderly individuals to live.

    When it comes to comfort, however, out of 12 Million Medicare beneficiaries over 65 years of age with need for basic equipment for bathing and toileting, 42% lack at least one type of the needed equipment.

    With my background in adult and geriatric rehabilitation and clinical home modifications, I am able to assess the home modification needs of each individual by understanding their physical issues.  Working in collaboration with our team members at LifewiseCHM, we develop environmental and equipment solutions that ensure people remain at home safely and independently.

    While barriers like high costs and lack of coverage may keep patients from obtaining the necessary equipment to live comfortably and safely, healthcare providers can take steps to support their patients.

    Because the need for adaptive equipment and home modifications can occur gradually over time or develops after injury or illness, healthcare providers can provide support to their patients during routine screenings or specific visits, by screening for adaptive equipment needs and home environment updates.

    The key to success is identifying and educating those at higher risk. The CDC in their STEADI program recommends that healthcare providers ask the following 3 questions to identify individuals at a greater safety risk:

    • Do you feel unsteady when standing or walking?
    • Do you worry about falling?
    • Have you fallen in the past year?

    With a simple set of focused questions, all healthcare workers can help direct their patients to adaptive equipment decisions and next steps of care.

    As the saying goes, “it takes a village,” and by focusing on identifying those at greater risk, all healthcare workers can have a role and make an impact, keeping people in their homes safer and more independent.

    For instances where the need includes clinical home modifications and equipment recommendations, LifewiseCHM will be ready to help.

    Contact us for more information.

     

    Sources:
    Addressing Unmet Adaptive Equipment Needs Through Primary Care
    STEADI Basics – CDC

     

    Debbie Hartzler
    VP of Clinical Services