Entry By: Eileen Bach, PT, M.Ed, DPT

Welcome to June!

June is the month when the weather pulls us outdoors; when we are attending graduations, weddings, barbecues and concerts and when we celebrate our Dads. There are a few unusual events recognized such as June 3rd ‘Repeat Day”, June 11th “National Hug Day”, June 15th “Smile Power Day”, June 18th “International Panic Day” and June 30th “Meteor Day”. June is also when we enjoy the Summer Solstice (on 6/21/11), the day the sun is highest in the sky at noon as well as the longest day of the year, and summer officially begins!

Two June recognition events that all of us working in healthcare can bring into the lives of our patients and clients are: National Safety Month and Home Safety Month and Prevention and Wellness Month. Working in home health care, I have a unique opportunity to see the home environment and identify specific ways to increase safety. Some safety measures will span the generations, addressing small children and older adults needs such as non-skid mats, decluttering, lighting. Here’s a top 10 list from the Home Safety Council that covers home safety areas.

  • Prevent Falls
    • Bathroom – install grab bars for tub/shower and use non-skid mats
    • Stairs/Steps – have bright lights over stairs/steps and on landings
      • Remove clutter everywhere especially on stairs
  • Prevent Poisoning
    • Products such as cleaners, beauty, medications should be stored where children cannot reach them. Use child safety locks.
      • Note: This is also true for cognitively impaired adults
    • Poison Help – call 1-800-222-1222
      • Note: Know when to call 911
  • Prevent Fires and Burns
    • Install Smoke Detectors and check that they are working; practice evacuation
    • Cooking Tips:
      • Never leave the stove when food is cooking on it
      • Turn pot handles towards the back of the stove or use back burners
    • Set the hot water heater to 120 degrees
    • Carry hot items carefully – use pot holders, travel mugs, choose insulated handles or easy to grip handles on pots, pans, oven trays
  • Prevent Choking and Suffocation
    • Small children:
      • Use the dimension of a toilet paper tube – anything that fits through can cause choking in a child. Keep “tempting” items (coins, balloons, hard candy or food, etc) out of reach.
      • Place babies on their backs to sleep, remove toys, pillows, etc from crib
      • Always supervise around water (tub, toilet, buckets or pool)

Prevention and wellness is a key element in improving care outcomes and engaging patient self-care management.  Medicare offers specific advice and tips, including covered services – see details at http://www.healthcare.gov/law/provisions/medicare/preventiveservices.html

Resources, brochures and safety checklists to improve home safety can be found at:





Wishing everyone a wonderful summer ahead!

Eileen Bach