Occupational Therapy Advice and Information
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Over the years products have had to develop to cope with the increased demand for specialist equipment for people who are classed as Obese and to meet the safety demands and needs of Carers when moving and handling people. Obesity is usually defined as an abnormal accumulated body fat, usually 20% or more of the ideal body weight.
Product development includes determining whether walls are constructed sufficiently to take the weight of the equipment and the larger User, especially in shower seating, through floor lift installations and stairlift installations. Even toilet seat and pans have been developed to accommodate the larger Individual.
Most standard pieces of equipment have weight limits of up to 19/20 stone, or less, so it is important that when considering what help you require that you are honest about your present weight and also consider whether there is any likelihood that it will increase further because this will ensure that you only buy what is absolutely right for you and will meet your long term needs.
A number of Companies have developed a range of Bariatric equipment and usually this can be viewed in a specialist section within their catalogue or together within the specialist sections, which saves you having to spend a long time searching.
Shower seats: These are designed using stainless steel frames that are extremely strong and also have wider and deeper seat sizes and adjustable width footrests and angled armrests so that individual adjustments can be made to prevent skin breakdown or entrapment and to allow the Carer more room to carry out positioning. Some handles have been designed as a solid bar to enable Carers to get a good grip, which can improve the chair’s manoeuvrability. The seats usually have either split seats or horseshoe apertures to enable easy cleaning and most parts of the chair are padded with waterproof and antibacterial fabric coverings.
Toilet Seats, Frames and Drop down rails: These have been designed as heavy duty with wider and deeper seats and frame bases that are able to accommodate increased body weights. A drop down rail with leg can usually accommodate the larger person due to improved weight distribution but it is important to check with the supplier as to their recommended weight limits before purchase.
Toilet Pan: A 450mm heavy duty bariatric toilet pan has been designed to accommodate the heavier person to enable use with or without rails or frames, and with a ‘Big John’ toilet seat. The toilet pan has been load tested to 1000Kg and an extra wide casing gives a large footprint to provide maximum stability and secure floor and wall fixing. The ‘Big John’ toilet seat has been tested to 500Kg and has the option of a matching seat cover.
Toilet/Dryers: These have a standard weight limit of between 25 – 30 stone. The Closomat Washer/Dryer toilet can be further adapted to be fitted with a ‘Big John’ toilet seat that enables larger people with a weight limit up to 57 stone to use the equipment. The Geberit Washer/Dryer Toilets all have a weight limit of 23.5 stone.
Profiling Beds and Mattresses: There are Bariatric beds and Mattresses that have weight limits up to 60 stone and 40 stone respectively.
Riser/Recliner Chairs: A large number of Companies have designed and manufacture heavy duty Bariatric chairs that generally have weight limits of around 50 stone. These are often bespoke chairs that can be made to specific requirements but it is important to remember to be honest about your weight and be realistic about any possibility of further weight increase.