Items in AFP with MESH term: Architectural Accessibility
ABSTRACT: Family physicians commonly care for older patients with disabilities. Many of these patients need help maintaining a therapeutic home environment to preserve their comfort and independence. Patients often have little time to decide how to address the limitations of newly-acquired disabilities. Physicians can provide patients with general recommendations in home modification after careful history and assessment. Universal design features, such as one-story living, no-step entries, and wide hallways and doors, are key adaptations for patients with physical disabilities. Home adaptations for patients with dementia include general safety measures such as grab bars and door alarms, and securing potentially hazardous items, such as cleaning supplies and medications. Improved lighting and color contrast, enlarged print materials, and vision aids can assist patients with limited vision. Patients with hearing impairments may benefit from interventions that provide supplemental visual and vibratory cues and alarms. Although funding sources are available, home modification is often a nonreimbursed expense. However, sufficient home modifications may allow the patient and caregivers to safely remain in the home without transitioning to a long-term care facility.