In a family setting, the bedroom is the personal realm, the only room perhaps, in which an individual will have privacy and control of their environment. At least some leisure activities should be accommodated in the bedroom. The provision of an en suite bathroom, if this is possible, will further protect the privacy of the individual(s).
In the home of a disabled individual who lives alone, the bed area should become a control area. Once the individual is in bed, he/she will not want to rise again to answer the telephone, turn off the lights, turn off the television or radio, or answer the door.
The need for a control centre increases if the individual needs help in rising, dressing, and eating but is otherwise independent. In this case, everything must be at hand in the caregiver’s absence.
The Bedroom - Ambulatory Individuals
* Plan uncluttered furniture arrangement for ease of circulation.
* Provide a minimum of 3’O” (915 mm) clearance for aisles. More space may be necessary if the individual uses a large walking aid.
* Closet and dresser should be close together to eliminate unnecessary movement.
* Provide a low seat in the dressing area if the individual needs to sit while dressing.
* Impaired balance: provide a handhold or other balance aid.
* Is the bed larger or higher than ordinary?
* The individual may use an electric bed. Place controls conveniently and provide an outlet.
* Reduce the number of trips to and from the bed by providing bedside storage.
* Provide bedside controls for lights, call system, television, intercom telephone, etc., so that the individual will not have to get out of bed to turn these devices off.
* The individual may use bedside furniture, such as a table or a dresser, as an aid to rising. Ensure that such furniture is secure.
* The individual may need a handhold to pull him/herself up. Consider installing a floor-to-ceiling pole or a grab bar.
Bedroom - Individuals using a wheelchair
* Provide at least 3’O” (915 mm) of space on both sides of the bed.
* Provide turning space of at least 5’O” (1525 mm), preferably between bed and closet.
* Provide access space in front of windows so that the individual can reach window controls.
* Provide plenty of storage space. Closet and dresser should be close together.
* Provide enough space to allow the individual to move around freely while dressing.
* Consider closet door types and access to the closet from a wheelchair. The doors should provide complete unobstructed access to the closet.
* Set closet shelf and rod height in accordance with individuals reach.
* Choose closet hardware to match individuals grasping and pulling abilities.
* Provide access space for transferring into bed
* Provide night time storage space for wheelchair in a location that will not inconvenience other family members who use the room but that is reachable from the bed.
* Provide bedside storage and controls to eliminate the reed for getting up.
* Consider bed size and type (eg hospital, water bed, electric type) Record dimensions if they are atypical
* The emergency call system, if needed, must be at the bedside.
* Determine the individuals method of getting into the wheelchair
* The individual may need a suspended bar or a trapeze to pull himself upright. Reinforce the wall or ceiling as required.
* Does the individual reed assistance only when rising? Provide a call button.
By Ronny Wiskin