Improving Lives - Paula's Story

A bathroom solution that helped prevent the introduction of bed baths whilst retaining comfort and safety.

‘Paula’* is a 46-year-old female diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  Over the past eight years her condition has steadily deteriorated as too has her mobility.  Paula’s main carers are her husband and 14-year-old daughter but she also has a professional carer three times a day to help with personal care such as showering every morning in an ensuite wet room.   

For the past four years Paula has been utilising a standard shower chair with a lap strap but following a recent episode of ill health and admission to hospital, Paula’s ability to maintain her sitting balance significantly deteriorated.  Her care team reported incidents of Paula slipping out of the shower chair onto the floor requiring re-hoisting back into position.  

A full chest harness was tried but it didn’t solve the issue as due to a low trunk tone, Paula slopes to one side, not only making that area of the body difficult to access for washing but had led to Paula slipping again, resulting in the harness cutting into her.  Everyone was concerned that for her personal safety and comfort, Paula would now need to be washed on her bed – a consequence Paula was keen to avoid if possible.

Enter the local Care & Independence Product Specialist.  He had been approached by the case Manual Handling Advisor seeking an alternative solution.  The 981-S Tilt-In-Space Shower Chair proved to be just it!

By engaging the chair’s tilt mechanism of up to 45o, the reclined seating position together with her own body weight, cradled and supported Paula in a fixed position preventing the risk of slipping.  Paula also benefited comfort-wise from a 3D-Spacer back and head rest that, by its very nature is inherently padded, with the weave allowing a ‘moulding’ to a body shape.  3D-Spacer fabric is also fast air-drying so ideally suited for a wet environment.  

Adjustable straps allowed the tension to be further adapted specifically to Paula’s own needs, providing Paula with additional body comfort compared to her old shower chair.  Finally, the 981 was also fitted with a split gap flexi-seat to enable full access and permit use of the chair for toileting too.  Paula and her care team were overjoyed; the new solution worked and addressed all the issues being faced.

In the following months, another admission to hospital and further deterioration in Paula’s condition led to a clinical review of the situation. It was subsequently deemed that the Care & Independence solution was still meeting Paula’s needs, with Paula herself reiterating that she still found using it comfortable.  

*Due to the sensitivities of medical conditions, names have been changed to protect privacy. Iimages used are for illustrative purposes only.