In my time of treating patients and working alongside some of the brightest and most talented people in the rehab community, I have seen some interesting devices made by therapists and patients. Some of the obvious ones are the weighted PVC pipes filled with weights or kitty litter (don't drop that one), using soup cans for weights and frozen peas or corn for ice. An aide showed me the mix to make homemade ice packs as well. How about wound care? Danielle Zurovcik did just that with a $3 wound VAC device. The idea was to make a simplistic and cheap version to assist those in poorer countries who do not have the resources and money to afford similar devices.
I met a family during my home health days that rigged a way for their father to walk around the house safely and not get lost. It involved lots of rope for him to follow. Would it work for someone else? Probably not but for the family it was an easy way to keep their dad safe. I have seen transfer poles, or something similar to them, made from various materials by various crafts people. Some thought they were creating the next bread slicer with their designs. But I like ingenuity and I enjoy it when a patient asks our opinion on something of their creation. I would rather have a patient or family ask about something than try it out with no input from us.
Safety is the key when it comes to homemade devices and ways to do things, but I have seen that sacrificed for function. One gentleman placed his fire alarms lower in the house so he could change the batteries using only a handmade stool. He didn't feel safe nor did he have the ability to climb a ladder. This was a difficult situation to say the least. Shower adaptations have always amazed me as well. With all the shade tree plumbers and pipe fitters out there, I am surprised we even need to hire any. But if it works and is functional for the family, I cannot argue with it. Fortunately I do not discuss housing codes with families.