Environmental Modification in Practice

Environmental Modification

What we know

The physical environment of an older person’s home or their space in residential care contributes to their quality of life. As we get older, modifications may be needed to make it easier to move around and to continue to engage with people or just to be safe. This may also be a consideration when planning and delivering palliative care and end-of-life care.

The space in which the person lives may need to be modified to provide needed equipment or to enable aspects of care to be provided. This can sometimes cause tensions between making it easier to provide care and it remaining their home.

What can I do?

Putting too much importance on reducing risk can limit the older person's sense of comfort and ownership. Talk to them about what they want.

There are a number of resources that can be shared to show how changes can help in their home or in residential aged care:

Share resources from My Aged Care on Financial help for aids and equipment.

Think about whether a person's quality of life can be improved with modification of the home. Ask the doctor or occupational therapist about what changes to the home might be helpful for the person. Carer Gateway has useful information on this.


What can my organisation do?

Families and carers may need training and support to enable them to administer medications effectively and safely. Provide them with information on:

  • Using a dose administration aid e.g. Webster-pak may simplify the use of complex oral medication regimens
  • Keeping a record of when ‘as needed’ medications to control symptoms such as pain, breathlessness or nausea is helpful. Healthcare providers can use this information to adjust a prescription.
  • Being able to safely administer subcutaneous medication and injectable medications.
Have information on local suppliers and providers to assist with needed resources or modifications to the home.

Page updated 23 April 2020