Paraplegic Home Mobility & Personal Care

This article contains a video
Curated by
Brittany Déjean
Content via Magee Rehabilitation Hospital
Magee Rehabilitation Hospital
Curated by
Brittany Déjean

One of the greatest challenges after having a spinal cord injury is the transition home and managing home mobility. There’s a lot of work to figure out the best ways to adapt your home and establish your new routine, so Frank, a paraplegic, breaks down a few of his basic day to day routines (plus you get an idea of how he modified his home). 

Adapting life at home

The video kicks off discussing the process of working with his social worker at the hospital to get situated for him to go home and return to work. It involves a lot of questions to assess an individual and figure out what kinds of accommodations make sense.

Paraplegic man in bed propping himself up with his arm

Skip to 1:55 to jump to his skin inspection routine including a mirror and a flashlight- a great habit to get into to ensure you catch skin breakdown before it’s a serious issue. “I always make sure that there’s no redness,” he shares. “If there is any redness, I see if it blanches…If you have any red marks that don’t blanche, there’s a chance that could be pressure building up.”

Jump to 3:40 to learn how he adapted his bathroom. His house wasn’t accessible when he first bought it. “I really wanted a sink I could get my legs under,” he shared. He also had to be sure he had space to do the necessary transfers. He also shares about managing his own bowel routine every morning.

At 5:09, he details how he takes a shower, from transfer to washing to how to dry off. He uses a hand shower head that allows him to have control over his showering. “You really want to make sure you’re really dry because you don’t want to be getting into clothes wet and leaving yourself damp. You can leave yourself open for skin damage and skin breakdown,” he shares.

Paraplegic man sitting on a bed putting on pants

At 6:55, he’s onto figuring out what he’ll wear for the day. “I have to admit, while I’m in the shower, I am thinking about what I’m going to wear,” he admits, so he’s ready to get the outfit he wants before transferring back onto his bed to put on his socks, underwear, pants, and belt, in that order. “Believe it or not, if you have your socks on, it actually helps to keep your legs from falling,” he shares. With his legs not sliding around, he’s better able to get on the rest of his clothes. He also demonstrates getting his pants off while seated in his wheelchair.

At 11:00 he demonstrates a weight shift (that are ideal to do once every 30 minutes). “It becomes like second nature,” he shares and it’s critically important to keep you healthy.

At 12:04, he gives an idea how he cleans and organizes his house, keeping things within his reach and accessible. He’s got great tips for getting daily things done right.

Share this post with someone looking for ideas to establish their own daily routines!

See more Stories About: 
Life SkillsPersonal Care