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Home Safety

You may need equipment to help with recovery and to help you adapt to life after stroke. Your occupation therapist (OT) can advise you.
Did you know?

For every cancer patient living in the UK, £295 is spent each year on medical research, compared with just £22 a year for every stroke patient.

You may need equipment to help with recovery and to help you adapt to life after stroke. Your occupation therapist (OT) can advise you.

You can also get advice from you local Disability Resource Centre (DRC). They can advise on the equipment that is available form Adult Services, Health and by private purchase.

Disability Resource Centre
Tel: 01942 700 889

For a wide range of advice about home safety see RoSPA – the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

RoSPA RoSPA House
Edgbaston Park
353 Bristol Road
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B5 7STQ

Tel: 0121 248 2000

Website: RoSPA – Preventing Accidents in the Home

Lighting

Try to get the same level of light in each room as eyes take time to adjust. Pale walls help because they reflect light. Avoid gloss paint because shiny surfaces can dazzle.

Have lights at the top and bottom of stairs, which you can switch off at both ends. Low energy light bulbs are cheaper to run and last longer so won’t need replacing as often. They are more expensive to buy, however.

If your sight is poor, contrasting colours on edges and steps help you avoid tripping and make door surrounds, switches and plugs easier to find.

General Layout

Arrange furniture so you can move around easily. Be careful where you put low objects. Consider buying a cordless phone.

The bathroom door should open outwards – if you fall inside you can be reached more easily. Replace awkward door knobs with easy to grip lever handles.

If you have steps to your front or back door, consider a handrail.

Make sure any rails are fitted properly – some types of wall may need special fittings. Keep routes to the front and back door, fuse box and mains water clear so they are easy to get to.

Electrics

Don’t overload electric sockets – fit double points if you don’t have enough. Don’t have electric flexes trailing across the floor.

Do not use appliances with worn or damaged flexes. Don’t wire flexes together.

If an appliance appears faulty stop using it and have it checked at once.

Smoke

Smoke alarms are a must – around £5. If you can’t hear you can get alarms which flash and vibrate under a pillow (from about £80).

For a free Home Fire Safety Risk Assessment contact Starting Point – you may qualify for a free smoke alarm and fitting.

Starting Point
Tel: 01942 826 079
Or: 01942 825 595

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide is know as the silent killer because you can’t see it, hear it, smell it or taste it.

What to look out for:

  • Boiler pilot light flames burning orange, instead of blue
  • Sooty stains on or near appliances
  • Excessive condensation in the room
  • Coal or wood fires that burn slowly or go out
  • Families suffering prolonged flu-like symptoms

A Carbon monoxide detector card will alert you to a blocked flue or faulty gas appliance. The cards cost about £10 and last for a year. This small (credit card-sized) carbon monoxide warning card should be placed in the room go out for an hour or two and check it on return. If the gas is present a small disc in the centre of the card turns grey, then black. Get the faulty appliance serviced immediately! (Equipment costs may vary).

Falls

  • Avoid leaving items on the stairs – they can become a tripping hazard.
  • Ensure stairs are carefully maintained – damaged or worn carpet should be repaired or removed.
  • Try to avoid repetitive carpet patterns that may produce a false perception for those with poor eyesight.
  • Landings, stairs and hallways should be well lit with two-way light switches.
  • Make sure banisters are sturdy. The fitting of two easy-grip handrails gives more stability.

Floors

Floors should be slip-resistant. If you can, get rid of loose rugs, worn carpet, slippery or uneven surfaces, especially in the bathroom. Avoid rugs on polished floors or fix them in place. Don’t have a loose rug at the top of the stairs.

Stroke Survivors and their carers need to be made aware of:

  • The importance of using the right equipment to carry out the task in hand.
  • Loss of balance through sudden movements, e.g. getting out of bed or a chair too quickly.
  • The danger of slipping and tripping created by worn rugs, slippery floors or paths, uneven surfaces, trailing flexes, and items left lying around.
  • Loose or badly worn footwear. Well-fitting shoes can help with balance and stability.
  • Grab rails and places to sit down in the bathroom and kitchen could be an advantage if dizzy spells occur.
  • Spills on the floor should be cleaned up immediately to prevent slipping on them.

I have recently had a stroke and I need help with...