Advocating for Yourself – Home Modifications


When you visit a newly injured patient everything is raw and fresh and the thought of returning home at that very moment is not a priority in one’s mind. However, once medical issues are stabilized and rehabilitation begins, or a person is told that they will have to leave the hospital or a facility within a certain amount of time, the return to one’s residence has to be focused on. Hopefully the individual will be able to return to his or her home.

It is recommended that a family member or friend go with a professional from the rehabilitation center or a professional who specializes in home modifications. An effective way to do this would be to go into one’s apartment and envision returning to the residence in a wheelchair or walker. Would the person be able to go in through the front door? Are there steps that lead into the home? Will they need a ramp? Are entrance doorways in rooms wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair? Will the person be able to open doors if they can’t hold a key? Does the bathroom need modifications? Will they be able to use the shower or fit under their sink and will the faucets need modifications?

It is important for the emotional and physical stability for an individual with paralysis to feel comfortable in their environment. Every effort should be made to make as many accommodations and modifications as possible. Economics and insurance are the determining factors in most modifications.

Thanks to the encouragement and perseverance of community leaders, disability activists, committed elected officials, that there are now laws in place to make housing, public areas, various modes of transportation; educational institutions and so forth fully accessible. More often than not, the largest challenge is one’s own home modifications.

Did you know that the new Yankee Stadium is one of the most accessible sports stadiums in the United States? Well it is!

Check out United Spinal’s Resource Center for information about paying for home modifications, accessible home design and how to become your own self-advocate requesting modifications.