ADAPT AND TAKE CONTROL
What do you think is the UK’s biggest single cause of disability? Believe it or not, it is arthritis. It affects at least nine million people, and reinforces the point that most people become limited, rather than being born with a disability. It also proves it could be you, especially if you have led an active life: joints have therefore taken greater ‘punishment’ than if you’ve followed a more sedentary lifestyle.
All the main arthritis care charities recommend that key elements to coping with the disease in daily life are managing lifestyle, taking control, and adapting how we do things. That includes something we do on average eight times a day- going to the loo!
That simple act requires balance, stability, flexibility of knees, shoulders, hands and body, just to undress, sit on the loo, tear off toilet tissue, wipe clean, re-assembly clothing, flush the WC.
A little bit of thought through the process as to where potential problems may arise could easily alleviate- or eliminate- the need for care support, whether at home, or supporting a resident.
Research shows the biggest problems for sufferers are bending the knees to actually sit down, and stand up.
We’re familiar with, and accept, the concept of riser recliner chairs. There is actually an equivalent for the WC, a toilet lifter, which gives anyone with weakness in either the upper body or the knees the stability, safety and support to use the loo. They can be fitted over conventional toilets, or specialist bidet toilets.
The mobile version can even moved from one WC to another, when and wherever it is needed- a cost-effective solution for nursing and care homes, that still enables the user to feel supported yet independent, in very intimate circumstances.
The next biggest issue is physically having the strength and flexibility to tear off toilet tissue, and wipe clean. We suggest take the “toilet tissue tear test”: if you or your client(s) can’t easily tear off the toilet paper, how can they even begin to wipe themselves clean?
Arthritis Research UK advises the ultimate solution is such a situation is replacement of the conventional WC with a wash & dry toilet, also known as an automatic toilet or bidet toilet.
In essence, it looks like, and can be used as, a conventional WC but has built-in douching and drying. When needed, the toilet washes and dries the user. Thus there’s no need for the manual dexterity and body contortion, balance required to wipe. And the integrated facilities ensure cleanliness is thorough, and consistent, with no risk of faecal residue or contamination.
The ultimate solution is a toilet that in effect combines lifting and the douching and drying. Height adjustability means it can be set to an appropriate height to help the user easily get on and off, or lowered and raised to suit each user, and then, at the push of a button, can douche and dry!
So even if joints are painful, personal, intimate care can be managed with dignity, privacy and independence.
A blog by Robin Tuffley, marketing manager at Clos-o-Mat, Britain’s leader in supporting people to live independently and with dignity, in the bathroom
Contact: www.clos-o-mat.com, tel 0161 969 1199, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more blogs on toileting below.