Delivering dignity & independence

“If I could, I would put one in every bathroom”: care home manager Amanda O’Neil is talking about a toilet – but one that goes beyond being a simple WC.

Eshcol House near Truro, the 28-bed residential personal and nursing care home she runs, has installed a Closomat Palma Vita automatic wash and dry toilet. The unit has been strategically located in the communal downstairs bathroom adjacent to the residents’ main day room. This optimises access by residents, and removes the need for – and time commitment of – care staff to take them back up to their rooms when toilet care is required.

Looking like a conventional WC, the Palma Vita can be used as such, but additionally has in-built douching and drying: this ensures a consistent, high level of cleanliness and eliminates the need for care staff to help clients clean after toileting. The washing and drying process is triggered simply by retained pressure on the flush pads. There is no need for hand: body contact, nor toilet tissue.

The simultaneous flushing and douching is the result of in-depth research to ensure effective washing of the user’s bottom; the warm air drying completes the process, and, for users with sensitive skin issues, eliminates potential abrasiveness from toilet tissue. As the cleaning process is automatic, it no longer relies on the variability of the carer’s input and thoroughness, helping deliver optimum hygiene.

Eshcol House chose to add a ‘soft touch’ operating pad, to enable as many clients as possible to benefit, regardless of their manual dexterity/ strength. The soft touch pad is one of several accessories that enable the Palma Vita to be tailored to suit individual, and/or changing needs.

“Clients who buy into it, love it, and it becomes their preference,” observes Amanda. “They comment on the fact they feel it gives them increased independence, and restores their dignity, instead of the emotional and psychological devastation of having to have someone clean them and deal with a very intimate issue. “Our carers can spend more, qualitative time to our clients, as they are not spending as much time on bathroom duties. I would have one in every bathroom and en-suite if I could…..

“When we were assessed by the Care Quality Commission, they said it was a forward-thinking, refreshing idea. It is now part of our standard induction process for staff and appropriate clients, and I encourage visitors to try it too!”

The Closomat Palma Vita is the biggest-selling automatic toilet in the UK, and the only one not only manufactured in Britain, but fully supported by in-house installation, commissioning and service. It is part of Closomat’s range of bathroom adaptation equipment to enable elderly and disabled people to remain as independent, and as dignified, as possible; the range includes toilet lifters, body driers and height adjustable basins. Full details of its products, service and technical support are available on the website here.