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 Home Modifications

If you have a loved one who faces some longer term disability as a result of their brain injury you may need to make some modifications in order to make your home more accessible and more comfortable.




The Brain Injury Recovery Network does minor home modifications as a way to help fund our services. 

If you are in Ohio and are interested in having the work done professionally call us at 1-877-810-2100 for a free estimate. 



Below are some of the common modifications that may be required.

Ramps - Getting in and out of the house is the first order of business.  If you need a wheelchair ramp there are a number of different materials to choose from.  You can use treated lumber, aluminum, concrete, or the newer composite decking material.
Some important design issues to keep in mind are found in the ADA guidelines.  The ramp should not have a slope greater than 1:12.  That means for every one inch you need to go down you need 12 inches of ramp.  A 1:16 slope is more comfortable and if you have the available space is my recommendation, especially for a manual chair user.  When measuring do not just measure the height of the steps.  Measure from the top of the steps to the point where the ramp will end.  This way you account for the slope of the yard.   

Make sure you follow the ADA guidelines regarding railings and curb stops.  You will need to add a non-skid coating if you build with wood.  Also, there are guidelines that call for a 5'x5' level platform at changes of direction and also level in-line platforms for long runs.  When in doubt, over-engineer.  A power wheelchair can weigh 400 -500 lbs empty, then add the weight of the person.

Door Widening - Wider doorways make it much easier for the person in a wheelchair to navigate.  Even though the wheelchair may be 26" wide remember to account for things like elbows.  Try maneuvering a power wheelchair, it is not as easy as it looks.  If your loved one has vision or fine motor deficits they may need all the space they can get. 

Go with 36" wide doors if you can.  If you can not widen the doors you may want to consider offset hinges to provide a little more usable space.  Some other options include double doors or pocket doors.  Use lever handles throughout.
Threshold Ramps - A common problem is that there may be thresholds throughout the house that include a drop-off taller than the 1/2" recommended maximum.  Again, you don't think about it until you are in the chair and the drop-offs rattle your teeth.  There are aluminum, recycled rubber, or wood threshold ramps you can add to alleviate the problem.

Ceiling Lifts - We are seeing an increase in ceiling lifts as agencies are instituting tighter "no-lift" standards on their nurses and aides in order to avoid back injuries.  These lifts run on a track system that is mounted to the ceiling.  they can be motor  driven or free-wheeling, permanent or portable.  If you are unable to help your loved one with transfers, you may want to inquire about these lifts.

Roll-In Showers -  A roll-in shower as the name implies allows the person to roll directly into the shower while in their shower wheelchair.  The advantage is you avoid a very dangerous situation of trying to transfer someone without clothing and while they may be slippery.  These units can be custom built with tile or use a fiberglass panel assembly.

Grab Bars - Grab bars are another important safety device.  Make sure the bars are either 1 1/4" or 1 1/2" in diameter per ADA guidelines.  I like the 1 1/4" for use by people with smaller hands.  I use a connector to attach the grab bars that is easier and stronger than a  trying to center them on the studs.  I typically use a 36" and a 16" bar in a tub/shower.

Door Openers - There are power door opening units that will open and close the door for the person to enter and exit the house unaided.  The timing of the open and close settings can be adjusted for each person.  There are also options such as different types of switches, digital keypads, electric strikes, and outdoor access buttons.
Feel free to call and I will try to give you some advice for your situation.


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