Merry Walker® Use in Skilled Nursing

The merry walker was designed to promote self-rehabilitation. Just what does this mean? It means that skilled nursing home residents can be pro-active in their self-care and this in turn augments or helps the resident follow through when they have finished their therapy.

When Would You Use a Merry Walker®?

You may choose this type of walker when your patient demonstrates a physical decline, increased dependence, lowered self-esteem, depression, higher costs of care, and staff frustration resulting in high staff turnover.

Benefits

Residents using merry walkers® may experience less agitation, increased security, improved confidence, increased freedom, improved dignity and strength.

Benefits that you may see for staff include decreased time for resident cares, decreased pressure sores and decreased paperwork.

If the resident has an Alzheimer’s diagnosis it is recommended that a Vee-Belt be used in place of the strap. This is a wider belt and the tactile cuing gently reminds the resident to sit down instead of attempting to turn around in the walker.

The walker is constructed of steel, weighted on the bottom and each one should be individually fitted to the resident. The height of the top frame should be at the height of the pelvis to promote good posture. The weighted walker decreases the fall risk versus walking with staff and the use of a front wheeled walker. It also increases the arm, leg and back muscle strength while allowing the resident to experience a much greater quality of life and improved overall health.

The merry motivator® meets the needs of residents who are unable to get from sit to stand without the assistance of two staff members. It has a pneumatic lift for seat height adjustment. The user foot paddles using arm, trunk and leg muscles. The seat is designed to reduce pressure on the tailbone.

Medicare has approved the use and will pay for the walker if you live in an assisted living facility or home.

Restraint

It is considered a restraint, however, the New Swell Latch was especially designed to meet the needs of CMS and the restraint issue. The new walker has a large yellow handle, making it easy to see. It can be placed facing up or down, depending upon the resident.

Assessment

The assessment covers the level of independence with mobility, risk of pressure sores, falls and fractures resulting from falls, contractures, safety, wandering, medical and health questions. This form is completed by the evaluating therapist and the original is placed in the chart and nursing then performs documentation according to each state and facility guidelines.

Review of the resident using the walker is required four times per year. A copy of the assessment forms can be found on the official Merry Walker® website.

Summary

Residents can use this type of walker if an evaluation and appropriate assessment has been completed, an order from the physician has been received, training with the resident and staff has occurred and proper charting and documentation is completed by the nursing staff. Each state and facility has specific guidelines. The walker is covered under Medicare for assisted living and home use. This does not mean that it is always an appropriate choice.

The design of the walker is for self-rehabilitation to meet ambulation needs of all residents who require assistance with restoring functional mobility.

* Information obtained from Merry Walker® website.


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