Heroes of Therapy

Bev has 35 years of experience as an OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST
and she is sharing her insights and advice with all of us.

Here are Bev’s recommendations for essential items you will need when
you initially arrive home. These items will be needed to navigate around
your living space and help with a safer transition to your new lifestyle.
These essential items are needed for activities like sleeping, showering,
walking, moving and eating. Not everyone will need all of these, but here
are the most important items that most stroke survivors will need
immediately when they arrive home.

Equipment for BATHROOM SAFETY – grab bars, shower chair or
bench, depending on whether you have a tub or walk in shower. You may
need to remove shower doors in order to be able to maneuver your legs in
and out of the shower. Toilet equipment – a commode with either an over
the toilet or a seat riser with grab bars. Bed equipment- hospital bed or
possibly just a bed bar (which I still use). A simple item but very helpful.

Personally…I assembled what I needed from drug-stores, online retailers,
and connections at my rehab facility. But the biggest change I had to make
ROOM! Yes, I lived in a two story condo (which I loved very much), but
had to say goodbye to the stairs, which were simply too challenging.

It was hard to make the choice, to put my dining table away (for how long?)
and put a bed where it didn’t look right, or feel right. Accepting the
limitation, but…

I comfortably went to bed that night, looking up at my beautiful dining room
chandelier and I laughed…I finally got a beautiful sparkly chandelier over
my bed, which I always wanted…(because I had one in the dining room,
just like this one!)

The first morning I woke to find Rosa, my caregiver(the greatest gift
ever)had made coffee for me in my kitchen. It was so wonderful. I was able
to get up to the smell of coffee, and able to move into the kitchen and drink
my first cup of coffee back in my house after 70 days in rehab. It was a
beautiful and comforting memory.

In the end, after six months, I was able to move the bed back upstairs
thanks to rehab and time and strength returning. The chandelier stayed in
the dining room.

More tips from Bev to come soon…!

Managing Medication at home

After the essential items needed to assist around the house are in place, it’s a very important to note that up until now the patient’s medication and schedule has entirely been handled by the hospital. Before leaving the hospital, it is imperative to understand, not only the medication schedule, but what side effects can be caused from each medication. This can be overwhelming, in fact, when I went home, we actually hired someone to put the schedule together and fill up the pill boxes as well. All these drugs can affect everything greatly so it is recommended to take your blood pressure 2 to 3 times a day and chart it. You should review your BP chart with your home healthcare nurse or medical team. Again, advocate for the patient and find a way to have this organized charted and the medication available and nearby so it is readily accessible by the patient and caregiver. We also wrote in black marker on top of the bottle caps the abbreviation of what the medication is which helped us, and even put an additional label a quick label like blood pressure or muscle tone on the side so we knew what it was for. This can be helpful if there’s lots of medication to deal with -grab a sharpie and label it. 


My family is made up of comedians and writers, no doctors and nurses, so we had to find our way through the medication schedule on our own. Thanks to my trusty sharpie it worked out.


Another bit of advice concerning medication from my view is that throughout the process of recovery there are changes to medication. Keeping up with the changes, and the list current an accurate is a must. Managing Medication is a big responsibility and continues to this day, five years later. Luckily in time it will hopefully lesson the amount that is needed and should be more manageable. Note to all from Maria, and this secret is something I wanna share with Everyone no matter how old they are because it’s something I didn’t know, and I feel only older people knew… Blood Pressure medication changes, and can change often, so you have to keep up with monitoring it, reviewing it with your doctors. The longer I go through this process the more I learn about things like this , and feel they are somewhat of  a secret until you’re in the over 70 club. Anyways just a little bit of advice from me, my BP medication changed again about 6 months ago.





Importance of understanding meds, side-affects, and the importance of updating important paperwork now.  

In addition to these items to assist around the house, it’s a very important to note that up until now the patient’s medication, and schedule has entirely been handled by the hospital. It is imperative to understand not only the medication schedule but what side effects can be caused from which medication. This can be overwhelming, in fact, when I went home, we actually hired someone to put the schedule together and fill up the pill boxes as well. All these drugs can affect everything greatly so what is recommended is to take blood pressure 2 to 3 times a day and chart it, and review it what’s your home healthcare nurse, or medical team. 


Friends and Family , in this initial phase what we’ve covered so far is mostly all about the clinical-technical stuff from new accessories the patient will need as well as the medication, but at this time it is very important for the patient and the family to have critical emotional support when transitioning to this whole new world.  You play a critical role in supporting the emotional health and wellness of all involved. I can remember saying on several occasions to my friends who were helping me out in many ways …Isn’t it just great to be my friend? Ha, not sure at that given moment it was, but you have to add some humor sometimes.


 I can remember for me especially in the initial phase having visitors was really uplifting, now I’m not sure this can go for everyone because there are also times where you’re so tired from all the therapy that you’re not up for talking and carrying on but just seeing your friendly faces made a huge difference to me and I lived for those visits from all of you.  


* Don’t forget paperwork- Power of Attorney and Power of Healthcare Updated