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Burke Rehabilitation Hospital Now Offering Home Assessment Program to Keep Seniors Safe at Home

Released April 30, 2012

WHITE PLAINS, NY – April 30, 2012 – Burke Rehabilitation Hospital is now offering a Home Assessment Program for seniors and others to ensure their home environment is as safe as possible. Conducted by a licensed occupational therapist, the program was developed to determine the accessibility and safety of the homes of residents—predominantly the elderly. By finding and removing obstacles, and checking for potential dangers like tripping hazards, it is the hope that through such a program, residents can stay safe in their homes for longer periods of time—especially those who live alone.

The evaluation will also include a review of the stairs in the home, if applicable, and the need for railings, ramps and other devices that can make the home environment safer. The program can also assist residents find contractors specially trained in ramp construction and rail installation when necessary. The therapist may also make other recommendations such as the installation of a home medical alert system to be used in case of falls or medical emergencies for residents who live alone or who spend numerous hours alone in the home. The system would alert a family member or emergency medical professionals when appropriate. Emerging technology like automated medication dispensers may also be recommended, if necessary, to ensure the residents are taking their medication(s) properly.

The Burke therapist will also provide residents with simple ways to stay safe, such as by recommending having a list of all medications, doses and number of times a patient takes them clearly displayed.
“This is one easy way of ensuring that if there is a medical emergency in the home, responders will know the medical history of the resident immediately,” said Elizabeth Lenehan, OT, supervisor of Outpatient Occupational Therapy at Burke. Additionally, a list of emergency contacts should be placed by the phone in case the resident, neighbor or medical responder needs to reach a family member or physician.

“Helping people stay healthy and active in their home environments as long as possible is the ultimate goal of the new home assessment program,” Lenehan added. “There are little things we can all do to help make a loved one safer at home. It's about quality of life, and most people would prefer to stay in the homes they love as long as possible.”

The Burke Home Assessment Program requires a physician’s referral that includes a medical diagnosis and should say ordering a “Home Assessment.” Physician’s involvement is required to ensure there is ongoing communication between healthcare providers and family members. The new Home Assessment Program costs $268, which includes the one-hour evaluation, recommendations and a report that is sent to the resident and his or her physician. The cost is not currently covered by Medicare or commercial medical insurance. For more information about the program, please contact the Burke Outpatient Occupational Therapy office at (914) 597-2326.

The Burke Rehabilitation Hospital is a private, not-for-profit, acute rehabilitation hospital. Founded in 1915, it is the only hospital in Westchester County dedicated solely to rehabilitation medicine. Burke offers both inpatient and outpatient programs for those who have experienced a disabling illness, traumatic injury or joint replacement surgery. Burke is both an acute rehabilitation hospital and medical research center. Burke’s world renowned doctors and therapists provide state-of-the-art ¬treatment, while its research scientists explore the frontiers of neurological medicine. All share the Burke mission to ensure that every patient makes the fullest possible recovery from illness or injury.

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