Helping people stay independent in their homes is the goal of a new program Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Cape Cod is introducing in October. Home Safe Home is designed to give people tools and strategies to safely manage personal care and household tasks while reducing the risk of falls and other threats to independence.
Deb Greenstein, an inpatient occupational therapist and advanced clinician at Spaulding Cape Cod, developed Home Safe Home. At Spaulding, she’s part of a team that helps patients gain the strength and functional abilities they need to go home after a significant illness, injury or surgery.
“In our hospital, patients’ only job is to get stronger. They receive plenty of therapy, coaching, and motivation while we take care of meals, cleaning and other practical tasks that they or their family will have to do once they go home,” Greenstein says. For some, that shift in responsibility can be overwhelming. “At home, the patient and family are still dealing with recovery plus all the daily tasks. After a major health event, it takes more effort to do even basic things, such as bathing, cooking and paying bills. This can lead to physical and emotional fatigue. When you’re fatigued, it’s easy to overlook things that then become safety concerns.”
To reinforce the techniques patients learn while in rehabilitation, sessions will focus on energy conservation, work simplification, home modifications, and exercise, with strategies throughout to reduce fall risk. “We want participants to learn efficient methods to do normal daily activities to reduce physical and emotional strain,” says Greenstein. The program also promotes a well-rounded exercise program to reduce fall risk, gain flexibility, and improve stamina.
Recent or former patients and their care partners; persons living with chronic illness, disability, or impacts of aging; persons wanting to improve daily functional abilities; and persons interested in planning for the future are invited to participate. The pilot program will be free to participants, whose feedback will be used to fine tune the program.
“It’s one thing to do the minimum needed to be home. It’s another to live the life you want. Our goal is to help people not just get by, but to thrive,” Greenstein says.
Home Safe Home will meet at Spaulding Cape Cod for three weeks on Tuesdays from 2 – 3 p.m. beginning October 23. Pre-registration is required. For information and to pre-register, call 508.833.4191.