Obesity is back in the headlines (does it ever go away?). There is always much focus on the need to lose weight, but rarely, if ever, do the issues of daily life, if you ARE big, get discussed…
We go to the loo on average eight times a day! If you are larger, how do you sit comfortably on the toilet? How do you ensure your body is in the correct position to use the pan? How do you manage to reach, twist, bend and wipe clean properly?
According to the European Court of Justice, obesity is a disability. And when you set it in a toilet context, the issues are clear. You can’t use the loo as easily, in the same way, as a slimmer person. And it is pertinent whether an adult or child.
First things first, it may be wise to check the weight load of your toilet! There have been situations where someone has been so large, the WC has cracked and broken under their weight! Inevitably, brackets and hinges are subjected to greater stress loads too, and could snap. The strength and tolerance does vary: the standard Clos-o-Mat Palma Vita wash & dry toilet, for example, is tested to bear up to 190kg(30st)- 25% more than alternative systems.
If you are larger, there is physically more of you to position on the toilet, on the seat. Consider issues such as the depth available between the back cistern and the back of the toilet seat. Equally, the amount of room on the seat, and the aperture size: for example, a standard toilet seat is usually around 411mm (16”), whereas a specialist bariatric seat may be
as wide as 486mm (19”), giving you a lot more support whilst sat on the loo. If you need more seat width for comfort, it may be an option to consider a bench that fits over the WC. These are usually made to order, so the aperture perfectly accommodates you, but tend to be around 585mm (23”) wide.
With both, because they are purpose designed to accommodate greater body mass, they are stronger too: a specialist bariatric seat fitted to our Palma Vita, for example, will bear up to 362kg (57st). The extra support width makes a big difference, helping your stability, and your comfort, especially if you are sat there for a while…..!
They are also designed to ensure your bottom is still correctly positioned over the pan, with cheeks appropriately parted, for efficient, accurate bladder and bowel evacuation.
Once you have ‘done your business’ there is then the matter of cleaning. It’s not easy to stretch to reach the toilet tissue, then reach your extremities and wipe clean. A unit that washes and dries you may be a practical solution…
As with most things, you have a sliding scale according to quality and cost. Some options can be simply attached to an existing WC. They are an option as a short term ‘fix’ but do consider the nature of the situation: the unit is not part of the WC, so therefore subject/ liable to move when anyone sits on it, gets up.
At the top of the range are toilets that have washing and drying built-in: after toileting, you trigger the flush mechanism and the toilet does the rest.
Look at how it is operated- some are via a comparatively compact remote control, others by flush pad, some have operating options, including infra-red. How easy is the operating mechanism to hold, trigger? It’s no good spending money on a piece of equipment you then can’t physically operate!
Look too at the douche angle: you need to be sure it ‘hits the spot’!
Most Disabled Living Centres and similar organisations have units that they can demonstrate; some even have ones you can try: http://www.clos-o-mat.com/index.php/away-from-home/clos-o-mat-toilet-map.html gives you a fully-searchable map so you can see where your nearest location is. Your Occupational therapist should also be able to gie useful advice, and even, if appropriate, arrange a home demonstration for you, if you can’t easily get to a DLC or similar.
Rest assured, with a bit of thought, research, it is possible to source equipment that will help you at least undertake toileting more easily, hygienically, safely, and give you dignity, and independence.
Would you like someone to wipe your bum?
For more information please contact:
www.clos-o-mat.com, tel 0161 969 1199, email: email@example.com