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Lifting support

Daily life has been given a lift for the Lalor family, with kit that is “just the answer” for them all. 

Michael Lalor

The equipment is a ceiling track hoist and Palma Vita wash & dry (bidet) toilet, supplied and installed by Britain’s leading helpful hygiene solutions provider Closomat. It is benefitting the whole family: father Michael can move his 49 years-old son Michael, who has Muscular Dystrophy, easily around the family home in Laois, Leinster, particularly into the bathroom, and son Michael can to go to the toilet without having his sister Mary or father deal with his intimate cleaning afterwards. 

Michael Lalors Hoist“It is just the answer, it was terribly badly needed,” commented father Michael. “We had an ordinary mobile hoist before. It was very hard work for us to manage him. All we have to do now is push a button! 

“We had an older wash & dry toilet before too. It wasn’t a patch on this one! It cleans Michael thoroughly, without me, or his mother, having to wipe him. It’s much nicer for all of us.” 

Michael was first diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy when he was 17 and an active member of the Gaelic Athletic Association. Initially the family thought he had just sustained an injury. His Occupational Therapist initially arranged for the mobile hoist and original toilet; as his condition has deteriorated, and time has impacted on his parents’ ability to help him, the family’s needs have been re-assessed, with the recommendation of the new Closomat Palma Vita and hoist. 

Looking like, and capable of being used as, a conventional WC, the Palma Vita is the only wash & dry toilet designed specifically for people with impairments. It delivers the best douching and drying performance available. Uniquely, it can be fitted, initially or retrospectively, with a range of accessories to enable people to continue to use it with little or no support, even as their needs change.

Closomat’s ceiling track hoist can carry up to 200kg (31stone), and can, at the push of a button, be moved to wherever it is needed in the room, precisely positioning the person where the carer requires-be it over the toilet, shower seat, or changing bench. The hoist is designed to support the user as needed, and be simple for the carer to transfer. 

“We go to the toilet on average eight times a day, so it has a huge impact on anyone who needs help to do so, and their carers,” observes Robin Tuffley, Closomat marketing manager. “Combinations of equipment such as we have provided at the Lalors makes a huge difference to the whole family’s daily life.” 

Closomat is the only British manufacturer of wash & dry toilets, with the Palma Vita being the biggest-selling unit of its kind. It compliments its range of helpful solutions for intimate hygiene with country-wide sales and technical support and in-house, nationwide service & maintenance. 

The company’s website- www.clos-o-mat.com- is one of the most comprehensive resources for accessible bathroom and toileting solutions. White papers, guides to specification, installation ‘top tips’, CAD blocks, video, and renders are all available for download free of charge, with the site even including a fully- searchable map for ‘try before you buy’ locations.

Having the choice on how to deal with good days and bad days…

How would you cope with going from a comfortable standard of living, with a husband, a young child and pregnant to being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a single mum of two, and “at the mercy of the state”? 

That’s the situation Jay Denton (48) from Colchester found herself in less than a decade ago, but one to which she has adapted, helped by making the most of available living aids/ assistive technology. 

“I never thought I’d get excited about a loo! I do now!:” she laughs. “Going to the loo if you’re disabled is one of the things that doesn’t even occur to you until you’re in that situation; it’s not on the radar. But when you are in that situation, it’s funny how little things make such a difference to your quality of life.” 

Jay Denton & her Closomat LooThe key adaptations to her rented bungalow have been, on the recommendation of her Occupational Therapist, the replacement of a conventional WC with a Closomat Palma Vita (with plinth to elevate the seat height), to which has now been added- following further deterioration in her condition- an Aerolet Tilt toilet lifter, also from Closomat. 

Closomat’s Palma Vita wash & dry (automatic bidet) toilets feature integrated douching and drying triggered by user preference: when the user remains seated and triggers the flush mechanism, the Closomat flushes and simultaneously washes the user’s bottom, followed by warm air drying. It eliminates the need to wipe clean, and all its associated considerations of dexterity, balance, hand: body contact, and potential urinal or faecal cross-contamination of hands, body or clothing. It also offers the best wash & dry performance available on the market. A raft of accessories enable its personalisation to individual user needs, initially, and as they change with time. By standing up and flushing, the Closomat can be used as a conventional WC. 

Closomat’s Aerolet toilet lifter replicates the natural motion of sitting down and standing up, supporting and balancing the user whilst gently, automatically lowering and raising them over the WC. It is all controlled by the push of a button via integral arm supports, which simultaneously provide additional bracing as the resident transfers from wheelchair or frame to the toilet. Closomat is the only company to offer both a tilting and vertical version in a toilet lifter: the vertical is best suited for people with limited lower body and limb strength, whereas the tilt suits people with control over their legs. 

Explains Jay, “I don’t want to depend on people doing things for me before I really need it.

The wash & dry functions of the Closomat mean I can ‘go’ and know I’m clean without having to worry about physically twisting, turning, bending to wipe. I’m tall (5ft 9ins) so the height of the toilet matters: I can’t use a ‘disabled toilet’ away from home as if I sit down, I can’t get up again without help! It’s great having the plinth added to the Closomat, as the toilet is set to the right height for me. And because the user triggers the douching and drying, the children use it too, as a normal loo. 

“The Aerolet gives me the adaptability, flexibility to still ‘go; without help, depending on how good or bad I’m feeling that day. It enables me to use my legs, if possible. How I am feeling depends on how high I need the unit to raise me to standing. Without it, on bad days, I could potentially end up sat there until someone came to help!” 

Closomat, founded 55 years ago, and still family-owned, is unique in its provision, in-house, of design advice, supply, installation, commissioning and after-sales service & maintenance for the Palma Vita and its range of accessible toileting solutions at home and away. Details of the Closomat’s assistive toilet care offerings, plus case studies from real-life users, can be found on its website here.

Toilet helps Margaret keep as healthy as possible

A Glasgow pensioner who uses a wheelchair is keeping as healthy and independent as possible, in part due to her toilet.

 

Margaret Shearer, 65, suffers from a rare neurological condition Transverse Myelitis (similar to MS ) that struck her literally overnight with no warning 15 years ago. The initial idiopathic attack caused her immune system to damage 7 sections of the spinal cord myelin sheath; three recurrences (themselves unusual) have meant she now has severe mobility and sensory issues.

Despite now having to use a wheelchair, she has learnt to drive, become an advanced scuba diver specialising in deep sea wrecks, is a Victim Support Scotland Volunteer, and worked at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. She has founded and chaired the Scotland Transverse Myelitis Support Group www.myelitis.org/scotland and the European Group for Parents of Children affected by TM, NMO, ON and Adem.

At home, her independence has been optimised by adaptations including the creation of a level access en-suite, complete with Clos-o-Mat Palma Vita, with a soft seat option, and to which drop-down integrated slimline arms and an infra-red remote switch added.

The Palma Vita looks like- and can be used as- a conventional WC; it has integrated douching and drying. Accessories including arm and body supports, various seats, operating mechanisms, mean it can be tailored to individual needs, at outset and as the needs change, to enable the user to toilet with as much dignity, privacy, independence and control as possible.

“I moved home last year to be nearer family and specialists. I had a Closomat at the previous house, with an adjacent grab rail. Because of Transverse Myelitis I have lost bladder and bowel function, and am prone to urinary tract infections: the Closomat, with its douching facility, makes sure I am properly clean,” explained Margaret. “The new Closomat with the integrated arm supports, is even better! I wish I’d had it years ago. I feel more secure, as the arms are much closer to me, and can lean on one whilst using catheters. The elliptical shape means they are easier for me to use too, as I can push up with the palm of my hand and not have to grip the bar. With the remote switch, I just press gently to trigger the flushing, douching and drying process- no need for any manual strength to press flush levers and so on! So at least with my intimate care I don’t need help.”

The Palma Vita is the brand-leading wash & dry toilet in Britain, and the only one manufactured here, by Closomat.

Closomat is the UK’s leading supplier of toileting technology for disabled and elderly people. In addition to the Palma Vita, it manufactures and supplies a wall-hung version, the Lima Vita, its height adjustable counterpart the Lima Lift, plus provides a selection of personal care ancillaries- toilet lifters, height adjustable washbasins, hoists, changing benches and body driers.

Founded 55 years ago, and still family-owned, the company is unique in its provision, in-house, of design advice, supply, installation, commissioning and after-sales service & maintenance. Details of the Closomat’s assistive toilet care offerings, plus further case studies from real-life users, can be found here.

One man’s solution to dealing with a life-changing accident

If you ask Karl van Gool which fixture in his home he values more than any other, he’d say it was his toilet.

“The independence it has given me! I can go to the loo without my wife having to help me. It’s the most wonderful thing we have had put into our home,” he says. 

Karl Van Gool & FamilyKarl is referring to his Closomat Palma Vita wash & dry (automatic bidet) WC, installed at the family’s Halesowen home at his request. Looking like, and capable of being used as a conventional toilet, the Closomat has built-in washing and drying, so if preferred or required, the user doesn’t have to wipe- or be wiped clean- with toilet tissue. The Closomat is only one of several daily living aids at the family’s bungalow, purpose-built for disabled habitation.

“I was visiting a friend, in part through my involvement with the local Disability in Action group, and he had one. I thought it was a brilliant piece of kit, so asked if we could have one too. It’s beautiful,” he says. “Now I can ‘go’ on my own.”

Karl became disabled in 1989, after he had an accident a work. He slipped a disc as a result, then during medical treatment, a needle was incorrectly inserted into his back, damaging the nerves. As a result, he can no longer stand.

The family was already used to disability: his son Matthew is undiagnosed but has symptoms similar to cerebral ataxia. The family was told when Matthew was a baby that he wouldn’t survive beyond his fifth birthday. He is now 30, blind, with no lower limb feeling and limited upper limb sensation. 

“We all use the Closomat. My wife has to help Matthew get on and off, but that’s all she needs to do now. It’s made her life so much nicer,” adds Karl.

The Closomat Palma Vita is Britain’s biggest-selling wash & dry toilet. It delivers the best wash & dry performance available, and, uniquely, is the only unit of its kind with full, in-house sales and service support, provided nationally via its Manchester headquarters and manufacturing facility.

Also uniquely, the Closomat can be tailored to individual requirements, at initial installation and retrospectively, so it can adapt to each person’s needs as they change with time. The Palma Vita is complimented by the wall-hung Lima Vita, height-adjustable Lima Lifter, and a raft of additional assistive technology to enable people to address their personal hygiene with optimum independence and dignity. 

Family-owned, Closomat is the longest-established provider of wash & dry toilets in the UK, and the only one that manufactures in Britain. It is also unique in its provision, in-house, of design advice, supply, installation, commissioning and after-sales service & maintenance. Details of the Closomat’s assistive toilet care offerings, including ‘how it works’ videos etc, plus further case studies from real-life users, can be found on Closomat’s website www.clos-o-mat.com.

‘MARVELLOUS’ JOB

 

Clos-o-Mat Toilet

 

An RAF engineer who defied medical expertise after a spinal injury is still retaining a degree of independence and refusing to succumb to his physical limitations, by using British toilet engineering expertise.

 William (Buff) McBeath 

William (Buff) McBeath, 70, was told he would never walk again after his injury in the line of duty in the 1970s. He did learn to walk again, but years of wear and tear- particularly to his knees- and the onset of cellulitis mean he is now reliant on a wheelchair.

 

To accommodate his needs, his home in Livingston has been majorly adapted, with a stairlift, and the bathroom turned into a wetroom, complete with Closomat Palma Vita wash & dry toilet. Further deterioration in his condition has meant that he has now had a hoist fitted in his bedroom to enable his carers to get him out of bed, and his wheelchair replaced with a shower chair.

 

“The Closomat does a marvellous job. It means that at least when I go to the toilet, the carers don’t have to clean me. The whole point of having the Closomat was because I was having difficulty wiping myself,” he says.

 

The Closomat Palma Vita looks like, and can be used as, a conventional WC. It has built-in douching/ showering and drying, so the user does not have to rely on care support or toilet tissue to clean themselves: just stay sitting, trigger the flush and the toilet cleans you.

 

Unlike any other toilet of its kind, the Palma Vita can be fitted at any stage with accessories to enable the user to continue to benefit despite changes in their needs. Over 120,00 permutations exist, with addition of a plinth to adjust the height being one of the most common adaptations. Plinths are available in 25mm, 50mm, 75mm and 100mm, enabling the toilet height to be set at the optimum for each user.

 

Closomat is the UK’s leading supplier of toileting technology for disabled and elderly people. In addition to the brand-leading Palma Vita wash & dry toilet, it manufactures and supplies its height adjustable counterpart the Lima Lift, plus provides a selection of personal care ancillaries- toilet lifters, height adjustable washbasins, hoists, changing benches and body driers.

 

Founded 55 years ago, and still family-owned, the company is unique in its provision, in-house, of design advice, supply, installation, commissioning and after-sales service & maintenance. Details of the Closomat’s assistive toilet care offerings, plus further case studies from real-life users, can be found here.

 

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