Keeping Seniors Safe with Home Care Assistance: 8-Point Bathroom Safety Checklist
According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), unintentional falls in the bathroom were the most common form of injury across the country in 2017, resulting in nearly 1,800 emergency-room visits each day. In all, falling was responsible for 32 per cent of all reported ER visits that year, the agency says, costing the health-care system more than $2 billion (source: CBC News).
The often-overlooked science of slip and fall prevention can save lives.
With that in mind, today’s post shares some safety strategies you can use to reduce your loved one’s risk of suffering a slip and fall injury. Read on for an 8-point bathroom safety checklist, courtesy of our home care assistance team at Always Best Care Canada.
- Lighting. Sometimes nature calls in the middle of the night when unlit hallways and bathroom spaces can be treacherous. Consider installing nightlights in these areas to help prevent falls.Lighting must also be maintained. If your loved one is unable to maintain the home and you are out of town or in need of respite, our home care assistance team can help!
- Adequate room. Clearing room to maneuver is a simple and effective bathroom safety tip. Sometimes when we slip, we only need a step or two to right our balance. In these situations, a bit of clutter can be all the difference between a stumble and a severe injury. Make sure the bathroom is clutter-free and leave plenty of room to maneuver.You’ll also need to ensure that the bathroom space is wide enough to access with a wheelchair or walker.
- Suitable bathroom doors. Doorways must be wide enough for wheelchairs and walkers to pass through. Outward-opening doors and pocket doors are also recommended because they make it easier to access your loved one when they slip and fall. In contrast, inward-opening doors may create situations where your fallen loved one obstructs the path of the door, preventing you from entering.
- Suitable shower accommodations. Does your bathroom include a step-free shower, or does every bathing experience involve an uncertain step over the side of the tub?In addition to a step-free shower, you may wish to replace glass shower doors with plastic. This simple substitution can save your loved one serious injury in the event that they slip and fall in the shower.
Is your loved one able to stand alone in the shower? If not, a bath bench or chair can help keep them safe.
Is the showerhead easy to access and “aim,” even from a seated position? Shower head attachments are recommended for older adults because they limit the strain of reaching, twisting, and turning.
Finally, install a non-slip surface in your shower. Laying down floor mats or non-skid appliques can greatly reduce the odds that your loved one will slip and fall.
- Senior-friendly bathroom fixtures. Doorknobs, shower handles, and faucets should be easy to use, even for those with arthritis and decreased hand strength. Twisting knobs are not ideal.Consider installing a raised toilet seat with grab bars if your loved one has trouble getting on and off the toilet independently.
- Non-slip flooring. Your shower’s flooring shouldn’t be the only surface that’s protected by a non-slip coating. Even the safest shower setup is all for naught if your loved one has to step out onto a floor slicked by condensation or shower run-off. You may want to install non-skid vinyl, cork, or bamboo flooring, all of which have much higher safety ratings than ceramic tile.
- Senior-friendly water heater settings. Experts agree that 120 degrees is ideal for preventing scalds and other heat-related injuries among older adults.
- Support. Does your loved one have someone nearby to help in case of emergency? If you live out of town or require respite, our home care assistance team can help. Our staff is highly vetted, specially trained, licensed, bonded, and insured, so you can trust our team to deliver compassionate care in the home whenever you need it.
Learn More About Increasing Bathroom Safety With ABC BC Canada
We proudly serve North & West Vancouver, Vancouver, and Burnaby.
Call 778-945-3010 or visit our website to book a free consultation with our senior care team and learn more about how we can help.