6 Ways Homes Can Create Better Environments For Physical Rehab – Showerbuddy

6 Ways Homes Can Create Better Environments For Physical Rehab

6 Ways Homes Can Create Better Environments For Physical Rehab

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The physical rehab journey is long and challenging. In a moment, our independence can be stripped away. A serious injury can prevent us from protecting ourselves around the home. Seemingly easy home layouts can suddenly become impractical when mobility has reduced from an injury.
As the hard work is put in between the individual, their family, carers and the physical therapist, the shortcomings of the home for supporting rehabilitation become clear. No standard home is perfect for mobility challenges, but there are some things families can do to make things a bit easier. We cover six of these in this article.

1. Maintain a clean, clear home

Cleanliness and clutter-free should be two mantras your household lives by when a member of the family is going through physical rehabilitation. Untidy spaces create difficulty when manuevouring assistive equipment around and transferring your loved one between rooms or body positions.

Places like the living room are notorious for acquiring clutter throughout the day whether that’s kids toys, cushions, bags, shoes or anything else that naturally finds its way onto the floor. No matter which part of the physical rehab journey a loved one is on (in a chair, on crutches, walking unassisted but without 100% mobility), these items are only going to create tripping hazards.


Keeping the home cleaned is a job best divided up between the household to reduce the load on any one person. If your situation doesn’t allow for that, then you may wish to chat to your OT or health provider about ways to get support keeping the home maintained. The help available will differ depending on where you live and other variables.

2. Address any difficulties with access to the house

A home that’s hard to get in and out of makes physical rehab just that much harder. Think about the appointments to attend away from home that a PT programme will involve at some point – if a home does not accommodate quick exit and access to the car this trip will feel even harder than it otherwise would be.

Access is crucial for a family with an injured person – the fire risk of not being able to get out quickly puts everyone at risk. Addressing access issues needn’t always be expensive, with sturdy but removable ramps a popular fixture in homes with a step down off the doorways outside. Fixing any wearing locks or handles is also important.

3. Introduce the outside into the home

A pleasant, positive environment for home physical rehabilitation is helped by bringing elements of the outside inside.

Whilst outdoor activity will likely be part of the plan anyway, there will be extended periods of time inside, especially for those in a state of considerable incapacity. Families can help this by introducing the outdoors into the home. You may wish to bring some indoor plants into the home, get into the practice of keeping windows open to let fresh breeze through and making an effort to harness as much sunlight as possible.

Without the freedom to get out of the home, it’s on those supporting the individual to help avoid their loved one from feeling trapped in their home.

4. Configure bedrooms to create short trips to bathroom

After a significant injury event, a family will often be left scrambling to adjust to a new normal in the home. Some of the more basic steps taken will make a big difference.
If the family member was previously sleeping in a bedroom far away from the bathroom, consider swapping rooms around. The journey to the toilet with a serious injury is slow and requires care to conduct safely. Extra distance is creating a problem that isn’t worth dealing with. These shorter trips will help the family as well with fewer instances of accidents and reduce the anxiety that often exists with using the toilet whilst in physical rehabilitation.


Proximity is an important aspect of creating a comfortable environment for your loved one. Ideally the bedroom closest to the bathroom is also closest to these areas as well. If you’re unsure about which room would best meet these needs and cater to any care or equipment needed, your occupational and physical therapists can help guide you.

5. Prepare your bathroom for ease of movement

Consider a space like the bathroom with laundry hampers, racks, scales and many small items that can be knocked off shelves. This clutter combined with excess moisture on surfaces makes for a difficult environment to safely move around someone with reduced movement.

Bathmats and other items may be functional for other members of the family, but make life harder for your mobility impaired loved one. Clearing shelves and surfaces of loose items like soap, shampoo and scrubbing brushes saves the headache of knocking things over during a transfer or other bathroom activity. Keep loose items out of the way during the preparation, transfer, bathing and toileting processes.

6. Install bathroom mobility equipment to assist transfers

Transferring into a bath or shower is one of the more difficult aspects of physical rehabilitation at home.

Done manually, the awkward shift of weight can lead to back or neck strain of the carer, or even loss of grip on the individual creating a dangerous heavy fall. To remove the stress and difficulty of the transfer, consider getting your bathroom assessed for a transfer system. Products like the ShowerBuddy or TubBuddy are designed with a bridge, base and chair system that enables barrier-free entry by sliding the user in a comfortable seated position to bathing and toileting with less manual handling and lifting required, saving the carers back from potential injury.

A day of physical therapy and rehabilitation is often exhausting for all involved. A proper transfer system gives everyone a break and helps keep the individual safe and secure in the bathroom.

Further reading

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The information in this article is intended as general information only and is not a replacement for official health guidance by your local medical providers. Please always consult an occupational therapist and/or local healthcare for more specific guidance.