Sunday, 8 May 2011

Practical advice

From the Hinsdale Hematology Oncology's Blog, 20 january 2011
Clearly for cancer sufferers who 'inherit' neuropathy via their treatment but some or all of these tips could apply to everyone with balance or sensory issues, depending on the severity of your neuropathy.


How to Manage Peripheral Neuropathy

Because of sensory loss, you will depend more on visual cues from your environment. The following suggestions will help you make your environment safer and reduce the chance of injury.

Lights
•Your rooms should be well lit so you don’t fall.
•Light switches or lamps should be at the door entrances. The light switch should be visible to you and easy to turn on with your fingers.
•Turn on lights before you enter a room.
•The room should be bright enough for you to see all the areas where you walk or do activities.
•All stairways inside and outside of your home should have the lights on before you walk on them.
•Keep a night-light in your room and along the path you walk during the night.

Stairs
•Cover stairs with a non-slip surface.
•Clear stairways and hallways of objects, such as small area rugs, toys and clutter.

Floors
•Floors should have non-glare and non-skid surfaces.
•Remove all area rugs or, if needed, be sure they have non-slip backing.

Bathrooms
•Bathtub or sink area rugs should have non-slip backing,
•Use portable over-the-tub handgrips or install shower grips.
•Use a non-breakable water thermometer to check that your bath water temperature is below 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
•Use adaptable nail clippers to cut your nails. These may be purchased at a health supply store.

Kitchens
•Use rubber gloves to wash dishes.
•Use a non-breakable water thermometer before you wash dishes so you do not harm your skin with water warmer than 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
•Use lightweight, non-breakable glasses, utensils and plates.

General Safety Tips
•You may purchase special equipment at health supply stores to assist you with activities of daily living. Examples of equipment you may find useful are: zipper pulls, buttoners, molded sock aids, elastic shoelaces, cuff and collar extenders and lightweight dressing sticks to put on garments without bending.
•Special pens, pencils and utensils can help you hold the objects more easily.
•Wear shoes that go over the instep of your feet.
•Wear gloves and warm socks in the cold weather.
•Ask your healthcare provider if it is safe for you to drive based on you specific symptoms.

Exercise
•Walking is good exercise for your health and helps keep your muscles flexible.
•If you exercise in a gym, inform the instructor that you have peripheral neuropathy and get instructions on the use of safe equipment that may help you keep your muscle tone.

Referrals
•There are many professionals, agencies and resources available.
•Your physical therapists can help with exercise programs and devices to assist you.
•Occupational therapists may help you find adaptive devices for work or home.
•Your ability to drive may need to be evaluated by a rehabilitation specialist.
•You may wish to have a podiatrist care for your feet.

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