Adaptive equipment can be used to help stroke patients have greater independence with everyday life skills or activities of daily living. There is a great assortment of assistive devices for all areas of self care including dressing, bathing, grooming, cooking, feeding, toileting, and mobility aids. There are also assistive technology devices to help with communication, using a computer, operating household devices, and driving. Various medical and personal care equipment choices can be found below.
If interested in purchasing any of the adaptive equipment, you can visit websites such as www.activeforever.com, www.wayfair.com, and www.pattersonmedical.com. Make sure you know the return policy before ordering any equipment. Many types of medical and bathroom equipment items are non-returnable due to sanitary reasons. This means you should research equipment before buying and make sure it is the right equipment for you, has good reviews, and will fit in the space needed if applicable. If you are interested in finding clothing for a stroke patient which allows for easier dressing such as donning pants from a seated position, please visit this adaptive clothing page. You can also search Amazon.com and other similar websites to compare prices and get the best deal on adaptive equipment.
Rolling Walkers - If the stroke victim has use of both arms and legs but still presents with some balance problems or slight weakness then a rolling walker may be appropriate. One must be able to push forward with both arms to operate a rolling walker. The most common are 2 wheel walkers, 4 wheel walkers and rollators (4 wheel walker with a seat).
Hemi-Walkers and Quad Canes - When the stroke victim is paralyzed and does not have good use of one side such in the case of hemiplegia or hemiparesis, then a hemi-walker or quad cane may be needed. These types of mobility aids have a wider base of support than a single tip cane thus providing more support but not requiring the use of both hands to operate. Quad canes come with small or large base depending on the amount of support needed. One drawback to a hemi-walker or quad cane is that the stroke victim mostly relies on the non-affected side for walking and does not incorporate using the weak side as much so one must remember to continue working on exercises and weightbearing to the weak side to prevent neglecting these muscles.
Single Tip Canes - If the stroke patient only needs minimal support for steadying, then a single tip cane may be appropriate.
Wheelchairs and Scooters - Many stroke victims will need a wheelchair due to limited mobility. A hemi wheelchair is a special wheelchair which can be adjusted lower to the ground and allow the ability to operate it with one or both feet. Electric wheelchairs and scooters are also available some which can be operated with one hand.
Shower Chairs and Tub Benches - Shower chairs with and without backs can be purchased for walk-in showers or bathtubs. For the stroke patient that has a bathtub and cannot step over the side, a transfer tub bench that extends over the side would be more appropriate. Hand-held showers can also be purchased to make showering from a seated position more convenient.
Toilet Seats and Bedside Commodes - Raised toilet seats or toilet seats with handles can be purchased to make standing up from the toilet easier. If the bathroom is not accessible or the stroke patient needs the convenience of a toilet next to their bed then a bedside commode can be used.
Other Bathing/Dressing Aids - Various adaptive equipment exists to make bathing amd dressomg easier for stroke victims such as a bathing mitt, hair shampoo tray, long-handled sponge, reachers, long shoehorns, sock aids, elastic shoelaces, dressing sticks, button hooks, and more:
Kitchen Aids - A variety of one handed devices exist for people to use in the kitchen such as one handed cheese slicers, rocker knives, cutting boards with suction cups, and scoop plates:
Electric hospital beds make it easier to get a person out of bed or to sit a person up in bed. This can become important for the stroke patient who has a peg tube and swallowing difficulties that require the head of the bed to be raised. It also is helpful for caregivers taking care of stroke patients with limited mobility.
Grooming Aids Devices used to help with grooming include brushes with suction cups, hair dryer racks, toothpaste squeezers, and various utensils with adapted handles.
Donating or Finding Used Equipment
If you have medical or adaptive equipment that you no longer need, you can search the term "donate DME" on the internet to find local DME (durable medical equipment) exchanges or non-profits that will take your equipment to be used for others in need. You can also use that same search term if you cannot afford equipment and want to find a local business that offers inexpensive prices or free DME for those who qualify.