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Archive for January, 2012

Talking About Toilet Safety

Posted on: January 27th, 2012 by LAMedicalBlogger

“Like sitting on a real throne,” says Kate.  Visits to grandma’s house are always entertaining with a little one.  My little one was in wonderment last Saturday, when using grandma’s safety-enhanced bathroom with the raised toilet seat and toilet safety rails that Kate says makes her feel like royalty when she uses it.

This instance reminded me that unless you’re around home medical equipment or nursing homes, most of the population doesn’t know the facts about toilet safety equipment until they have an immediate need for them.  Here it goes…

Elevated or Raised Toilet Seats

This high structure atop a toilet seat prevents the user from having to sit at a 90 degree angle or in some toilet designs, even lower.  With a user with any leg instability at all, standing from sitting on a low toilet can be very difficult.  At LA Medical Retail, we offer an elevated toilet seat that locks to the toilet for maximum safety and also a basic raised toilet seat that can easily put on and off the toilet.

With Tool Free Arms

Some of our elevated toilet seats come with metal arms that can be easily removed if unneeded.

Toilet Safety Frame

A popular bathroom safety product at LA Medical Retail is the toilet safety frame that customers either choose in addition to their raised toilet seat for added safety or instead of the raised toilet seat.  The safety frame attaches to the frame of the toilet to offer full support to the user when pulling up off the toilet.

Toilet Safety Rail

For minimal installation of hand rails, some customers choose the stand alone toilet safety rail.  This railing option fits around the base of the toilet and includes padded armrests and a magazine rack.

Do you have any of these products in your bathroom or have you used them at a friend’s house?  Let us know what you think!

Escaping Harm in the Bathroom: Setting up a safe bathroom

Posted on: January 24th, 2012 by LAMedicalBlogger

For an individual with movement restrictions, the bathroom can be a treacherous place and is potentially the most dangerous room in the house.  It takes a great deal of coordination to get in and out of the shower, on and off the toilet and move about through these typically small, slippery rooms.  Fortunately, all is not lost.  Bathroom safety products are easy to install and very effective in preventing falls and broken bones.

Whether you are looking at your own bathroom or the bathroom of an aging loved one, thing about the things you do in a bathroom and take in what the user’s abilities are.

Shower Safety

Can the user lift their leg high enough to climb over the tub wall to take a shower?  Do they have enough strength in their legs to stand the duration of the shower while washing himself/herself?  Sometimes all the user needs is a shower bar to grab on to when climbing over the tub wall and a shower chair to sit on while bathing themselves.  If they are not strong enough to climb over the tub wall, they may need a walk-in tub installed.

Toilet Safety

It takes more muscles and coordination than you would think to use the toilet.  Depending on the height of the toilet, the user may not have enough leg strength to lift himself/herself back up again without aid.  The simple solution here is a raised toilet seat with toilet bars for added support.  If getting to the bathroom is a problem, you may want to look into a commode to keep in the bedroom.

If you or a loved one needs any of these items, check with us to see what insurance coverage will be and don’t wait to make your surroundings safer, keeping you home and independent longer.

Sticking Your Neck Out: The Skinny on Cervical Collars

Posted on: January 19th, 2012 by LAMedicalBlogger

If you’ve recently experienced a traumatic incident involving your head or neck or have been the victim of chronic neck pain, you may be in a cervical collar.  If not, you may want to prepare yourself be reading this blog post as cervical collars are one of the most common braces prescribed in emergencies and in injury prevention.

Types of Cervical Collars

There are two types of cervical collars, and wouldn’t you know it, we carry both!  Cervical collars are either soft (standard) or a hard, rigid collar.  As with any soft brace, the soft cervical collar is used for minimal spine injuries and allows for minimal head and neck movement.  The hard collar is an immobilizer that allows very little movement and is commonly used in trauma.

When it comes to hard cervical collars, the most commonly used designs are the Aspen Collar, the Miami-J Collar and the Philadelphia Collar and each have very different fitting procedures.

Uses for Cervical Collars

One of the most common uses of cervical collars is to prevent further injury to the spine or paralysis immediately after a traumatic head or neck accident.  Emergency personnel are required to fit a cervical collar to any victim that could have possibly endured a spinal injury.

Another common use is for therapy in patients with chronic neck pain.  Cervical collars are worn to slowly align the spinal cord and relieve some neck pain.  If the cervical collar does not provide enough support, the next step is a halo fixation device.

Put Your Back into It: Basics of Lumbar Supports

Posted on: January 17th, 2012 by LAMedicalBlogger

We put our back through a lot these days.  One of the most common mistreatments of your back is how you sit.  The most comfortable sitting position is not always the best for your back muscles or spine.  We also do too much lifting, don’t lift properly and don’t stand straight.  All of these seem like minor issues, but these same minor issues lead many Americans to a prescription for a lumbar support back brace.

There are two different categories of back braces, rigid or soft.  The rigid braces are made from an immobilizing design and the soft braces use more elastic materials.  Rigid braces treat the spine while soft back braces generally treat the muscles in the back.

Soft or Elastic Lumbar Support

The soft lumbar supports treat muscle pain, arthritis or mild spine instability.  When prescribed a soft lumbar support, patients generally are not expected to wear them nonstop.  Constant support could lead to the body’s dependency on that support and weaken your muscles.  A prescription for a soft lumbar support is usually combined with an exercise program to strengthen back muscles.  These braces also serve as a reminder to the patient to restrict their movements.

Rigid Lumbar Support

A rigid lumbar support is needed when the spin is unstable or needs correcting over time.  These braces are meant to be worn any time the patient is planning to be out of bed for more than a few minutes.  Some causes for spinal instability is scoliosis, a spinal fracture or a recent spinal surgery.

Overall, the correct spinal bracing is extremely important in lower back pain or spinal instabilities.  Wearing the correct support brace can mean all the difference in your back rehabilitation.  Give us a call if you have any questions about our back braces and their support functions!

Hospital at Home: Hospital Beds, Mattresses and Bed Rails…OH MY!

Posted on: January 12th, 2012 by LAMedicalBlogger

You now know that you need a hospital bed in the home for yourself or a loved one.  Choosing the right components can be difficult.  Here are some basics about hospital beds and their components.

Hospital Beds

Full-electric hospital beds work well for patients who are immobile.  The electrically powered head and feet adjustments as well as bed height adjustments make life for the immobile patient and the caregiver much easier.  Manual beds work well for patients who have more control over their body and have less need for a caregiver and semi-electric beds generally have electrically powered head and foot adjustments while the bed height adjustment is manual.

Hospital Bed Placement

Before getting your bed home, you will need to measure all doors to make sure the bed will fit into whatever room you have chosen for the bed.  You may also want to choose a room on the main floor of the house for the hospital bed to be in.  This makes patients feel less isolated and is also easier for the caregiver to work with.  Remember that electric and semi-electric hospital beds will need to be placed near an electrical outlet.

Mattresses

The type of hospital bed mattress will depend on the patient’s height, condition and type of hospital bed you have chosen.  Many hospital bed mattresses are made of foam, which provide good support and prevent bed sores and pressure ulcers.  Some use air mattresses for bed sore prevention, but is not good for a patient with an unstable spine.  The final is a pulmonary therapy mattress which helps with weak lung function.

Bed Rails

For some, bedrails are a good way for restless patients to stay in bed and prevents patients from falling out of bed.  On the other hand, a smaller patient could get caught between the bedrail and the mattress.  If bedrails are needed, but the patient is smaller you can purchase reduced-gap rails for extra safety.

Overall, it is best to discuss hospital bed decisions with a healthcare provider before making your choice.  Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.

Hospital at Home: Choosing the Right Hospital Bed

Posted on: January 10th, 2012 by LAMedicalBlogger

Are you or someone you love thinking about getting a hospital bed at home?  This is another matter that families know little about before they suddenly need one.  Just recently, we had a family come in needing a hospital bed for a young father who had suffered a heart attack at work and had a long road of recovery ahead.  He needed a bed that could elevate his upper body for healthy drainage of his chest cavity and easier breathing as well as one that could raise and lower in height to make caring for him easier on his wife.  We were so happy we could help this family.  Here are some information they found helpful and that may also help you:

Do you need a hospital bedat home?

Most individuals with a hospital bed at home have chosen to recover from an illness at home, but need the hospital bed capabilities to breathe easier or make it easier for a caregiver to care for them.  Hospital beds can be adjusted so that the upper body is angled up for easier breathing or for relaxing while watching television or having company.  These beds can also be adjusted for the feet to be elevated or the height of the bed to be adjusted.

What kind – Manual Hospital Bed or Electric Hospital Bed?

You can choose from a manual bed that is body-powered and operated by a system of cranks or an electric bed that is operated using a control pad.  These two types of hospital beds vary in price with the manual bed being the more affordable choice.  However, users generally like the electric bed more because of its ease of use and added features.

Other factors: Hospital Bed Mattress and Space for Hospital Bed

There are special hospital bed mattresses that prevent sores and hit certain pressure points.  You will want to look into what kind of mattress you need for your diagnosis.  You will also need to determine where the best place in your home for this hospital bed is.  Generally, it is best to keep the hospital bed on the main floor, but also where the patient can have privacy.  The bed needs to have space all the way around it for people providing care and should not be near windows or doors in case of a draft.

Have you had a hospital bed in the home?  Which kind did you choose and what did you like about it?

The Wide World of Wheelchairs

Posted on: January 4th, 2012 by LAMedicalBlogger

Before entering the home medical equipment industry, I was very naïve to the diverse selection of mobility products.  You may be new to mobility and making this exact same discovery.  Don’t be overwhelmed.  In wheelchairs alone, there are several different categories and unlimited options.  These wheelchair types differ dramatically in cost, function and size to match every different type of user and diagnosis.

Manual Wheelchairs

Manual Wheelchairs are body-powered, meaning there are no batteries and the user propels around by pushing the rim of the wheels around with their hands.  Since manual wheelchairs are body-powered, users need to have strong upper-body strength and energy to remain active in these chairs.  There are two types of manual wheelchairs: rigid frame and folding frame wheelchairs.

Folding Frame Wheelchairs

Folding frame wheelchairs are collapsible and typically have movable footrests.  These chairs are easier to transport than the rigid frame wheelchairs.  However, folding frame chairs are heavier and is not as sturdy as the rigid frame chairs.

Rigid Frame Wheelchairs

Rigid frame wheelchairs are welded at the corners of the frame and everything except the back of the chair is solid and will not fold.  The back will fold down to open up a storage area behind.  Rigid frame wheelchairs are the lightest option and easiest to maneuver due to the low weight of the chair.  These chairs are also known to be stronger and last longer than any other wheelchair design.

Power or Electric Wheelchairs

Power wheelchairs are a completely different beast.  These chairs are battery-powered and have several different categories based upon the user’s activity level, terrain the users regularly travel on and the user’s size.  These designs include foldable power wheelchairs for easy transport, standard power wheelchairs and heavy-duty power wheelchairs for larger users or users planning to travel on rougher terrain.

What kind of wheelchair do you have and why did you choose it?