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My 91 year old gentleman has recently been admitted to a wonderful memory care community. The staff and care is excellent. However, because this is a new situation he is slightly agitated and keeps slipping out of a wheelchair or lounger. Sometimes he attempted to get up and loses balance. Some falls are slight....almost in slow motion. But it is a fall.


A recent one resulted with a bump on the head and a multiple night stay in the hospital.


I've been told that "seat belts" are not permitted. Is there something that can be added to prevent him from repeated soft falls. David Letterman's velcro suit would not be out of the question.

I would suggest a wheel chair alarm which consists of a chair sensor or chair pad. The device detects reduction in pressure, for example patient leans forward and tries to get out of the chair, the alarm will go off, and alert the staff and also might help patient sit back into the w/c.
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Reply to earlybird
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See if the Occupational Therapist at the facility can do a series of “know your wheelchair” classes with him. It should be a mediCARE benefit if the OT can get a script written for it from his old MD or the medical director of the facility.

Also not all wheelchairs are alike. If he’s especially tall, he may need a more specialized one. Or one that has a lower back portion so his butt tilts lower (need upper body strength for this type). Really the OT will have suggestions.
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Reply to igloo572
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The rules against “Restraints” are VERY STRICT, and most reasonable sounding suggestions are just not allowed. I THINK that this is federal law.

In fact, even the “Velcro Suit” would likely be illegal. I’m afraid you’re going to have to be in touch with the facility PT or OT, and hope for the best.
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Reply to AnnReid
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I've seen wheelchairs that have a flip up tray (optional homemade?), that clips onto the other arm so you can read the paper or place food on it. Not sure on the cost but I think that might be an option.
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Reply to Sonny65
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AnnReid Feb 11, 2021
In my state, still illegal.
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My grandmother had a rubber tray looking thing that kind of held her in the wheelchair. I found this online and it looks similar: https://www.cevimed.com/skil-care-lap-top-4-thick-cushion-w-cutouts-for-full-arm-wheelchairs-1-ea/?sku=307014&matchtype=&network=g&device=c&keyword=&campaign=1553021402&adgroup=pla-295170336862&gclid=Cj0KCQiAgomBBhDXARIsAFNyUqOjl6QbEPgLuwH9IN2piLiCQyWMd32T1TX3sQHi2nBoFh52zLGYoE8aAs5aEALw_wcB

You might also check to see about a reclining type of wheel chair. It would probably be more difficult to get out of, but would hinder moving around on his own while seated in it (if he still moves around that way). Maybe rent one to test it out and buy it if it works.
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Reply to my2cents
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Maybe putting a gel cushion on the wheel chair seat would make it more comfortable and less Iikly to slip out of.
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Reply to bevthegreat
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There are wheelchairs that have seats that tilt back making getting out of them a bit more difficult.
There are "grippy" pieces that can be placed on the seat or cushion that prevent slippage. (kinda like the non slip pads they used to have for your car dashboard so you could put an object on that dash and it would not slide off as easily)
There are also alarms that will attach to the back of the chair and the shirt so if the contact is broken an alarm will sound so (hopefully) they can get to him in time.
Often people that try to get out of their chair will be placed near an area where there is a lot of staff. The Nurses station, a common room that is monitored by staff. At a table so he can do something to keep him occupied. The table will act as a deterrent to trying to get up.
(Velcro suit would also be considered a restraint if he is attached to the chair😉)
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Reply to Grandma1954
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If his seat does not incline to the back, you can add a foam wedge with a small slope so he is less inclined to scoot forward. He might also benefit from a mild anti-anxiety medication for a few weeks - until the "newness" wears off his new home.
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Reply to Taarna
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The NH provided Mom a wheelchair where the seat reclined back a little. This made it hard for her to stand up. It looked like a vinyl slated beach chair. Had a high back with cushions on each side of her hair if she fell asleep. The back could be adjust to recline. She scooted all over in it.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Hospice brought in a Broda chair for my mom. Bulky and tricky to maneuver, but she never fell again.
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Reply to DSS893
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Imho, this is quite common with elders due to lack of strength and other things; it sometimes also occurs if they are not in a wheelchair, but just a regular chair. The later occurred with my late mother when she "slipped" out of a chair. A slightly reclined wheelchair might be best. Prayers sent.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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Same problem with my dad. He was moved to SNL. I always say he fell once a week whether he needed to or not and that his bones must have been made of rubber - besides scrapes and bruises, he only had 2 injuries - once in independent living he compressed his disc and another time when in AL went to pick up silverware someone had dropped on the floor and just toppled over hitting his head on the table edge - bled but no concussion.

In the SNF he had his chair lift in his room, instead of ringing for assistance he'd lift the chair and being so weak he'd just continue to slide onto the floor - or he'd try and get out of his wheel chair and also just end up on the floor. I also asked about seat belts and was told those were considered restraints and they couldn't use them. The facility's solution was to move his chair out into the common area, they'd get him comfortable and unplug his chair - when they saw him trying to climb out they'd come over plug him back in and get him into his wheelchair. I cringed every time I got a phone call early in the morning or later in the evening worried he really injure himself and broke something. Two days before he died the hospice nurse called to say he was doing well and still trying to climb out of his wheelchair.

Good luck - and hopefully your LO also has bones of rubber.
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Reply to cweissp
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