One of the most important things for all of us is getting our lives back to the way it was prior to amputation. Obviously some changes will need to be made and you may experience daily challenges, but most of these can slowly be overcome in time.
Becoming an amputee may mean that you can do most of the things you used to do in a different way, and sometimes it’s just a matter of careful planning, organisation and learning as you go along.
Being able to go home for the first time can raise mixed feelings; excitement, anxiety and apprehension for you and sometimes members of your family. Discuss any concerns with your health care provider prior to leaving your medical facility. Knowing your way around a hospital or rehabilitation centre can be very different to what your home life will be like. Carpet instead of lino floors, easily accessible toilets and bathrooms are things we never need to be concerned about while in the safe surrounds of a medical facility, but our homes can sometimes be a myriad of obstacles. Your occupational therapist will assess your home for accessibility and safety. They will also make recommendations for equipment to assist you with independent living.
Below are a number of suggestions which can make that first time a little easier for you and your family.
- Mats on polished floors and tiles are a nuisance for wheelchairs and also prosthetic legs; remove them.
- Temporary portable ramps can be used if necessary to gain entry into the house; in time you may require permanent changes to be made.
- Hand rails for steps and stairs always assist with balance, stability and safety.
- Furniture like coffee tables, hall tables or anything that is an added extra can be challenging to navigate around in the early stages; have them placed near walls and out of the way of the main thoroughfare.
- Anti skid mats for the shower/bath floor are a safer option and the use of a shower stool/chair or bath seat is a good idea, they come in various sizes to accommodate the size of your bath or shower.
- Grip bars are usually required for the wet areas (shower, bath, bathroom and toilet).
- Arrange things so that they are in easy reach to enable you to do things for yourself.