SCI 101 & Rehab

Transitioning Home & Home Modifications

One of the scariest things is going home after a spinal cord injury - going back to everything you're used to, but everything now seems different. How is this supposed to work?

It can be tough road adjusting to a spinal cord injury. "Adjusting" is a tricky word. Simply put - you can still find happiness, not the kind you put on for family and friends. And we can help you get there. Having a successful transition home from the hospital is your first step in making this happen.

We HIGHLY recommend checking out this list of SCI grants to help pay for expenses related to modifying your home. Many invaluable grant resources are available.

Getting Ready for Discharge Day

It's a big job getting ready to go home after a spinal cord injury. It can scary, overwhelming and even sad leaving behind nurses and other patients, but it must be done eventually. And your first step is making sure your home is accessible. This means making sure can get in and out of on your own and use a bathroom on your own.  

And if you can make the kitchen accessible, even better. Some people will need more home modifications depending on their level of paralysis, but these are the essentials.  You'll also need to make sure you have caregivers and a wheelchair that works for YOU, which we will discuss below.

Setting Up Caregivers

If you can't do some of your cares, setting up and finding a caregiver is your next step. Some people will have their family help them, others meanwhile utilize PCAs (definition: A personal care attendant is paid for by medical insurance and helps a person with a disability perform daily living activities).

Also, depending on where you live, some states help pay for PCAs while others do not. It can be quite hard if you live in one of those states without PCA services.  Being completely reliant on family or ending up in a nursing home is the only option for people who need morning and night care in these states, or they pay for help out of pocket.

If you do live in a state that has a PCA Services, consider yourself lucky. To find a PCAs, you can go through a personal care agency.  These agencies will help find you PCAs and make sure you're never left in a rut. You can even start looking at agencies you will like while in the hospital or you can put an ad online  A nurse representing the agency will visit you in the hospital and make sure everything is set up before your discharged.

If you need help finding caregivers, the Center for Independent Living can be a great resource. To find you near you, visit their database here

Making Your Home Accessible

Not everyone can afford drastic changes to their home even though they can greatly change an injured person's life huge. There are however many other smaller modifications people with disabilities can do. First, creating an accessible entrance. Try calling around to local contractors to get a ramp built. Also to save money, look into the local Lions club. They often build wheelchair ramps for local residents for free.

And if you cannot afford to modify your home, also consider getting help from Vocational Rehab. This government agencey helps pay for thousands of home modifications each in addition to education and employment expenses. Check out a directory of VR agencies for every state 

Video: Advice on the Transition Home

Takeaway Points:

  • Set up caregivers before leaving the hospital
  • Medical insurance in many states (private and public) will pay for caregivers
  • Craigslist is used to find caregivers. PCA agencies can help with the search too
  • Make sure you have a safe and accessible entrance to your home
  • Local town organizations like the Lions Club can build ramps for free
  • Portable showers are available for homes that aren't accessible
  • What you learn in rehab can be different when you're home; patience is a must

Table of Contents
  1. Intro to SCI
  2. Rehabilitation & Safe Transferring
  3. Alternative Therapies
  4. Transitioning Home & Home Modifications
  5. Buying Wheelchairs