The stroke unit at Blackpool Victoria Hospital has become the first of its kind in the country to go to the toilet to help patient recovery.

Two nurses demonstrating the Closomat Palma wash and dry toilet and its touch sensitive operating systemThe specialist department within the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has had a Closomat Palma Vita wash and dry toilet installed.

The toilet, which looks like and can be used as a conventional WC, has integrated douching and drying, triggered when the flush mechanism is operated by pads on the side of the toilet, thus enabling patients to go to the loo without having to rely on nursing staff to help them.

Purchased by the Blue Skies Hospital Fund- the fund-raising vehicle for the Trust- the Closomat is largely the result of campaigning by former stroke patient at the hospital Jean Sherrington.

She explains, “Whilst there is great emphasis placed by staff on patient dignity, from a patient’s point of view toileting is an area that has always proved to be a problem: to be dependent on another person whilst using the loo can’t be described. Being able to self toilet is a massive step forward for patients. We all want to feel ‘normal’, and using the loo is one thing we all have in common. Being able to use the loo unassisted means so much.

“Something like the new Closomat should be encouraged, not as an innovation for hospitals, but the norm.”

The Closomat wash and dry toilet in the hospital's bathroomAdds ward manager Rachael Bailey, “I cannot begin to tell you how this will enhance the patients’ recovery and give them back their independence. Many of them struggle to use our existing toilets on their own. Jean, having been a patient herself, realised what it means to have independence and dignity maintained, so encouraged us to find a better solution for our patients.

“We looked at various systems: after consultation with patients and OT’s it was decided that the Closomat would provide the best for patients and deliver value for money.”

Closomat supplied and installed the new toilet and spent time training nursing staff so all understand how the toilet functions.