Tia and the Flamingo High-low
Adjustable Flamingo High Low Chair offers bathing and toileting independence for Tia and her family
Tia and the Flamingo High-low
Tia, a happy and engaging 3-year-old has just been introduced to R82’s height adjustable Flamingo High Low bathing and toileting chair.
Tia lives with parents, Lesley and David, in Pontypool, Wales, along with much-loved dog Gemma. The family home of 15 years has recently undergone major renovations, with the help of a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) provided by the local authority, to create optimal accessibility and provide the necessary space for Tia’s assistive equipment. This has included a through-floor lift installation from the lounge to Tia’s bedroom and a ceiling track hoist, also in Tia’s bedroom, to help move Tia safely and cater for her ongoing needs. An accessible shower room has also been created upstairs. For Lesley and David, the renovations have helped to reduce the lifting and carrying required for Tia’s care. The alterations have also provided an ideal setting to enhance Tia’s independent living skills. Having previously fostered many children with disabilities, Lesley is very astute and proactive in recognising Tia’s requirements. She has been encouraging her daughter’s sitting and standing capabilities and Tia is currently almost able to pull herself up into a standing position. Lesley comments: “We are aware that in the future, Tia will need the use of a powered wheelchair. At the moment, together with Tia’s Occupational and Physiotherapists, we are concentrating on improving Tia’s core stability so that she can gradually become more independent in her daily life. Tia currently wears splints on both legs and her left arm and has previously received Botulinum Toxin injections in her leg and may have further Botox in her left arm to enable movement. She currently cannot use this arm as much as her right due to increased muscle tone. It is generally tighter in a “fist” but we hope, in the future, she will be able to pull herself to standing from her bed. Having the correct equipment in place to support Tia’s development is vital.”
Switching to R82 Flamingo
Tia previously used a DCS Joncare Seahorse bathing chair which did not meet her or the family’s needs. This was subsequently replaced with a standard R82 Flamingo chair which fitted Tia well but she continued to require lifting by her parents between showering and toileting. As the chair had to be lowered manually to be placed over the toilet, Tia needed to be removed after showering and laid on the bed while Lesley adjusted the chair. As prime carer, Lesley found this placed strain on her back and because of the time involved making manual adjustments, Tia often ended up using her potty. Lesley was keen to find an alternative solution that would meet the needs of a growing child and help her daughter improve her toileting skills. Tia’s Occupational Therapist, Helena, recommended trialling R82’s Flamingo High Low bathing and toileting chair to minimise the transitions in the bathroom and help develop Tia’s independence. As the Flamingo has an easy height adjustable feature, it allows her parents to perform bathing and hygiene tasks in a convenient and good working position. The chair offers simple tiltin-space and back recline functions, to enable children to maintain a good seating position whilst completing essential care tasks in a safe way. It has optional accessories which can be used to provide extra support for the trunk, pelvis and feet with a choice of supports or upholstered sides to surround and support the shoulders. Available in four sizes, the Flamingo High Low is suitable from children into adulthood. R82, agreed to trial Tia in the Flamingo High Low and a specialist Product Advisor met the family to assess for suitability and make necessary suggestions and adjustments to the chair, with the Occupational Therapist, in order that it was suitable for Tia to use. Lesley felt instantly that the High Low Flamingo would solve many of the previous issues they had been encountering. With an easily accessible foot pedal that hydraulically adjusts the height of the chair, Tia no longer needs to be taken out of the chair between showering and toileting for manual positioning adjustments. This not only saves time but has also reduced the numbers of transfers required by her parents. This gets a big thumbs up all round! Lesley comments: “The Flamingo High Low adjustable frame means we can achieve the perfect height for Tia to shower in – whilst looking after my back at the same time! The chair fits directly underneath the shower and reclines smoothly into the correct hair washing position with the head rest providing good support. With the new range of height, Tia can almost reach the shower controls – meaning as she gets older she can achieve greater independence. By simply pressing the buttons and pedals, the seat gently returns into an upright position and the chair lowers to be placed straight away over the toilet or moved close to the sink to brush her teeth. We now have a smooth transition from shower-to-toilet-to-sink without having to remove Tia to adjust the chair.” Lesley is also delighted with the improved manoeuvrability of the chair and that it only requires a small turning area. She comments: “This one piece of equipment has made our daily routine far easier. Not only does the chair help me but it will aid the development of Tia’s independent bathing and hygiene skills. Plus the chair is noticeably easier to clean with open sides that make it more accessible.” Tia is due to start at Nant Celyn nursery in September and once settled will attend every morning. This is a mainstream school which Lesley believes can cater for Tia’s requirements. The newly built facilities shares their premises with “Chatterbox” which Tia currently attends for speech therapy and will be ideally set up for Tia with a hoist and hopefully a Flamingo High Low on site. Lesley concludes: “We are planning for Tia’s future and providing her with the correct equipment is very much part of that. For instance, Tia has a walker but because she keeps her head down when using it, she doesn’t interact.
However, when she is in her Wizzybug powered wheelchair, she engages with her surroundings, picks her own books and can make her own choices and we have noticed an improvement in her speech consequently. We are delighted with the Flamingo High Low and are currently awaiting R82’s Kudu wheelchair supplied via the Wheelchair Service (Wales) - which we are very excited about. With flip-away footrests we hope in the long run, as Tia’s core strength improves, she will be able to complete a variety of transfers independently getting from her wheelchair on to the Flamingo High Low herself.”
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