Those who are left with Traumatic Brain Injuries following and accident frequently cannot return to the homes they previously occupied because the design features won’t accommodate their conditions.
It may be possible to modify an existing structure so that a TBI patient can return to the comfort and familiarity of a minimally-altered home. But in some cases, the dwelling may be completely unsuitable, so they find themselves having to relocate to a more hospitable environment.
Below are some design features that may be helpful to incorporate into a TBI patient’s home.
Accessibility is of prime importance. However, all brain injuries are different, so there is no one-size-fits-all design available. An occupational therapist is one resource to consult when attempting to modify or purchase a home for a TBI patient.
Obviously, anyone who uses a wheelchair needs to be either on the ground floor of a single-story dwelling or live in a building that is equipped with working elevators.
But doorways will probably need to be widened as well to facilitate the person getting from room to room without struggling.
Also, consider how high the countertops and cabinets are in the home. Can someone who is seated in a wheelchair access everything that he or she needs for their activities of daily living?
Keeping clutter to a minimum so paths remain clear is very important. But dependent upon the type and extent of the TBI, more modifications may be necessary.
Sometimes TBI patients can’t handle the visual stimulation of bright lights, busy patterns or loud colors. A muted environment with low lighting installed is a good choice for these patients.
When the brain injury causes extreme sensitivity to noises, it’s a good idea to invest in soundproofing the home, or at least certain areas.
As one can imagine, these modifications and requirements can get expensive really fast. This is why it is important for those with TBIs to obtain competent legal counsel to help them recover financial damages from those responsible for their injuries. A settlement or judgment can enhance the quality of life for TBI patients and their families.
Source: Brainline.org, “Designing Houses for People with Brain Injury,” Elliot Roth, M.D., accessed Feb. 12, 2016