Home assessments for seniors could help avoid another hospital stay

Rita Hilt has a small apartment that she keeps very tidy.

“I always say, ‘I don’t want to break a bone,’” Hilt told CBS4.

That pearl of wisdom could save her from a fall and a trip to the hospital—and it’s what American Senior Communties’ special home assessment teams look for when helping clients return home after a hospital stay.

Dan McKinzie is a rehabilitation specialist with ASC. His job is to look for potential problems.

“Approximately two to three weeks before discharge from our facility, we actually have a physical and occupational therapist. Both come out and do a home assessment with the family involved,” McKinzie said.

He first looks at the bathroom, which is a problem spot for falls. Toilet seats should be raised, especially for seniors who’ve had hip or knee surgeries.

“We want to make sure they have durable medical equipment in place, grab bars, shower seats, tub benches, long shower heads—things that are very simple but make a big difference in their safety,” McKinzie said.

Outside the bathroom, keeping the floors easy to navigate is a key.

“We want to get rid of clutter, you know, throw rugs are nice to look at, but they can obviously snag a walker, a cane, whatever device the patient is using. You see a lot of high risks for falls,” McKinzie said.

A home assessment can save a recovering patient from a painful fall and another long-term stay.

“It could be a railing, it could be a ramp that could be installed. We want to make sure they are successful. We want to prevent re-hospitalization or readmissions. We want them to be successful for as long as they can,” McKinzie said.

Learn more about American Senior Communities’ rehab program and home assessments here.