There are plenty of reasons people fall, from medication side effects to balance dysfunction. The risk of falls increases at night, usually because of darkness, disorientation, and dizziness. Unfortunately, lots of people are awakened by the need to urinate, or aren’t able to sleep for long stretches of time. Occupational and physical herapists are skilled at evaluating and recommending specific mobility and equipment recommendations particular to each patient’s needs. However, there are a few simple gadgets that everyone could benefit from to increase safety at night.
1. Motion-activated Nightlight*
You may be surprised to know how many people are resistant to the idea of using a nightlight during the night. They worry that the light will keep them awake. Or burn unnecessary electricity. Or start a fire. But when I explain to them that there are nightlights available that only come on when it senses someone on their way to the bathroom, I get much better cooperation.
Motion-activated night lights are a great way to improve safety and reduce the risk of falls during the night. This is always part of my equipment recommendation checklist when I see patients in their homes.
2. Bed Handirail*
I never met a person who didn’t love their handirail. These are great for the person who needs time to adjust to the standing position- and would otherwise lean on the nightstand or reach for another piece of furniture.
Stable surface at bedside: ✔
3. Urinal or Bedside Commode*
Why not bring the bathroom to the bedside and eliminate the need to walk across the room altogether? This is a particularly practical way to go for people who get up multiple times a night. Consult with an occupational therapist about commode chair utilization, placement, and transfer techniques.
Bedside toileting: ✔