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European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2008 December;44(4):455-9


lingua: Inglese

Improving home accessibility for a person with a disability after spinal cord injury

Bozzolini G., Cassibba S.

Disability and Rehabilitation Unit Monti Lepini district Local Health Authority of Latina, Rome, Italy


Houses may become hostile and dangerous. To provide autonomy and safety of action and to optimize residual sensory and motor faculties, living units can be redesigned according to the new needs of the disabled person, without ignoring the harmony of the house. Formerly, designers used to focus on architectural barriers and on the creation of “special” products for “particular” cases. Currently, they prefer to look for components and objects which answer the needs of a wider range of users. The Authors were involved in the case of a 41-year old patient, who has been paraplegic from 8 years due to a D10 injury. Such a patient expressed a strong need to be autonomous at home. After having considered the patient’s requests and expectations of autonomy, the Authors analyzed the patient’s house to evaluate carefully her determination and the actual possibility of collaboration. Then, they analyzed the existing technical literature and drawn up a program based on four main types of environmental interventions, also using the legislative support provided by the current laws on this subject: 1) breaking down of architectural barriers; 2) design and plant engineering; 3) accessible furniture; 4) aids for personal autonomy. The result was positive both in terms of structural targets achieved and subject’s personal satisfaction and autonomy. The variety of functional limits of the person as well as the complexity of the living units to be renovated, make problem solving not univocal. Although in such an experience the control of expenditure was evaluated and reached, such an aspect cannot be compared to similar studies.

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