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.