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Home modifications improve tenant's life

​Until recently, Wide Bay public housing tenant Steve was unable to use his shower. A spinal injury left Steve a paraplegic, making it difficult for him to mobilise around his home.

A visit from the department’s local occupational therapist, Michelle , has changed that.

“We met over a cup of coffee. Steve is fiercely independent but during our conversations, I discovered he had been using his kitchen amenities for his daily personal hygiene routine, including showering, cleaning and self-catheterisation,” Michelle explained.

“Due to extensive scar tissue, Steve is unable to sit in a wheelchair for long, and uses a prone trolley to move around.”

Getting through the bathroom doorway with the trolley was impossible for Steve.

“There were also other concerns—Steve couldn’t open his wall oven, he couldn’t get through his laundry doorway and his fridge was located in his lounge room,” Michelle said.

Michelle knew she could help.

Steve likes his home, the location and the fact his friends in wheelchairs can visit and stay. I knew a transfer would not be the best option, so we worked together to design a new kitchen, bathroom and laundry he could access,” Michelle said.

The modifications included widening the bathroom doorway, and fitting an electronic bath bench that allows Steve to transfer onto with minimal assistance. There is also a fit-for-purpose vanity where Steve can complete his self-catheterisation in a sanitary and private environment.

“It is always very rewarding to see how our department’s occupational therapy service can really make a difference to our housing tenants,” Michelle said.

Steve is completely chuffed with the improved functionality of his home—especially now he can have a real shower!

Last updated 11 December 2017    Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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