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Tillman & Associates, Attorneys at Law

Modifiying a bathroom after a spinal cord injury

Most people who experience a spinal cord injury at work are overwhelmed with the drastic changes they're experiencing in all aspects of their lives. They're also usually very concerned about the financial costs associated with such a severe injury -- but most aren't thinking past the initial hospital care and rehabilitative therapy.

The real cost of a spinal cord injury goes much deeper, especially if you have any sort of ongoing weakness or paralysis. In cases where the damage is permanent, home modification becomes an expensive reality that has to be faced.

The bathroom is probably one of the first areas of your home you'll want to modify. Exactly what safety modifications you may need will depend a great deal on the severity of your injury -- the more mobility you retain, the less drastic the necessary remodel.

At the very minimum, you can probably expect to need a shower that's easy to either transfer into or wheel into, along with a shower chair or bench, grab bars, and non-skid strips.

In addition, you'll need to think about having water controls that can be operated with a single hand and a shower nozzle that's detachable for easier use. You also want to make certain that you have temperature controls placed on the system so that the water temperature never reaches scalding levels, even if you turn the handle the wrong way. That's particularly important if you have a loss of feeling in parts of your body -- otherwise you could easily end up with serious burns.

Most people with a spinal cord injuries that lead to lower-body mobility issues also find standard toilets hard to navigate -- toilets either need a raised seat or the toilet itself generally has to be raised 20 inches above standard. Toilets should also be outfitted with handlebars and grab bars need to be in strategic positions to allow you to either stand to reach your walker or wheelchair.

Given that these are just some of the modifications you can expect to make throughout your home, you can easily see how the true cost of a spinal cord injury goes well beyond the initial hospital and therapy bills. Anyone who suffers a spinal injury at work should consider consulting an attorney in order to get adequate compensation that will help make home modifications like these possible.

Source: calder.med.miami.edu, "Other rehabilitation issues in SCI: Home Safety And Modifications: Bathrooms," accessed April 17, 2017

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