Care Opinion from Closomat


By Robin Tuffley, marketing manager @ Closomat, Britain’s leading provider of helpful toilet solutions


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Have your clients taken the toilet tissue tear test?

New figures claim that almost one third of people with limitations have an issue with dexterity. The same report states the number of households that need an adaptation has increased by 1/2million, to nearly 2million, and that one of the top four areas that need adjustment are the bathroom/toilet.(*)


If a client has an issue with dexterity, it could be from arthritis- the most common cause of disability- or any number of other afflictions, muscle dystrophies. Regardless of the cause, it impacts on every aspect of their life, from getting dressed to wiping themselves after going to the loo.


If you have little manual strength or dexterity, how do you tear the toilet paper off the roll? How to do hold it firmly enough to wipe? How do you flex the hand and wrist to wipe?


We go to the toilet on average eight times a day, probably more than we do any other basic ‘activity’. It therefore has much more of an impact on someone’s life if it is something they can no longer do unaided.


Being British, toileting is not something we discuss. Having difficulty doing all the procedures involved is not something people will readily admit to. Yet it massively affects their feeling of independence, of being in control, of dignity.


The consequences of not admitting to it can have potentially serious health effects. People may resist ‘going’, which can lead to constipation, haemorrhoids, urinary tract infections (UTIs), enlarged prostate, kidney disease.


Because of our natural reserve, toilet issues can often overlooked in the care process. Many of the potential issues can be addressed with the use of appropriate technology, without the need to provide physical care support. After all, would you like someone to wipe your bum? Would you like to wipe someone else’s bum?


Providing some degree of physical care support may be appropriate but we need to consider the dignity of all involved. The client may well need help to physically prepare, but wherever possible surely it’s better for all involved if they can perform the actual task with as much independence as possible?


If a carer is helping with the whole process, there are straight away numerous considerations.  How frequently is that care available? Is the client being required to limit the frequency of bladder and bowel movements? There may be a manual handling need. There are considerations of consistency of care- how thoroughly is the client cleaned? Ineffective cleansing at least leads to soiling and potentially has health risks. There is the risk of faecal and urinary cross contamination: how thoroughly are hands washed afterwards…?


Appropriate aids can eliminate those considerations. They can enable the client to ‘go’ whenever they need to. They can ensure the client is effectively, consistently cleaned afterwards. They can give the client their independence, their dignity.

Maybe our assessments should be adjusted to include something as simple as the toilet tissue tear test?


(*) Papworth Trust Disability in the UK Facts & Figures 2016




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