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‘Total’ approach to hygiene helps makes lifetime homes a reality

A housing association which helped shape the 'Lifetime Homes' concept is proving in reality how easy adaptability transforms tenants' lives, with help from Total Hygiene.

Habinteg

Habinteg Housing Association developed the original Lifetime Homes Standard with Joseph Rowntree Foundation, laying down 16 design criteria to ensure a new home is accessible, flexible in use and easily adaptable for a range of people, including a wheelchair accessible, entrance level WC for use by householders and visitors alike.

Clayton Heights in Bradford, originally developed by Hanover Housing and subsequently acquired by Habinteg, initially had six Closomat Palma Vita wash and dry toilets installed to meet specific adaptations for individual requirements; as residents' needs have changed, that number has grown, with 11 now in situ and daily use by the specific residents, helping them deal with the impact of evolving illnesses such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinsons disease, that will change their needs over time. To ensure tenants' independence continues, Habinteg has also committed to service & maintenance contracts on the Closomats.

Kate Royce, Habinteg Community Housing Officer at Bradford explained, "We periodically review our tenants' needs, in consultation with them, to help them live independently. We have therefore installed Clos-o-Mats as necessary: none of the tenants who have them could manage without them, they would need assistance to go to the toilet, which would not only limit their independence, but impact adversely on their psychological wellbeing."

The Closomat looks like, and is no bigger than a conventional WC, but features integral douching and drying facilities operated by either hand or body pressure on the flush lever or 'soft touch' remote control pad. The removal of the need to 'wipe clean' thus enables users to toilet independently and with privacy and dignity. With the provision of a suitable electrical connection, the unit can be simply installed in place of a traditional loo.

The Closomat is covered under Disabled Facilities Grants; appreciating people's changing needs, Closomat has also introduced a range of supply options for social housing providers, be it purchase of new or refurbished units to short- medium term rental strategies.

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