Host: I’m back here at Cornwall Mobility, on the North Buildings of Royal Cornwall Hospital, and here with Mel in the showroom where we’ve had a bit of a look around in previous weeks. Where should we go now, Mel?
Mel: Should we move into the bathroom area?
Host: Yes, let’s do that.
Mel: We have a small assessment area here, laid out like most people’s bathrooms, although there are a few more products in here as you can see. And probably the main thing in here is that we’ve got a standard bath, like anyone would have in their own bathroom, and we’re able to physically try people on various bath aids, mainly bathlifts - products that will help people in and out of baths. It’s usually one of the first problems that we hit as we get older is struggling from the bottom of the bath. Getting in is often okay - it’s getting out that’s the problem. So we’ve got a number of different types of bathlift. We’ve got this one here in the bathroom at the moment is a permanent fixture, which is a hydraulic electrical product that lifts somebody out of the bath and will actually bring the person on a swing arm right to the door. That’s quite - for someone who is profoundly disabled, really, a product like that. But then you’ve got more portable products which are actually displayed out on the showroom table there. We have a static bath lift which will raise someone with the help of a battery. This one, for instance, looks rather like a chair. It’s got four large suckers on the bottom so that it sticks really well to the bottom of the bath, and then you attach a battery, press a button and hey presto, it lifts you out of the bath. That one is static, as I say - what you see is what you get. The next level up would be one that will actually recline somebody, so they might want to relax a little bit more. So the back, once it’s reached the bottom of the bath in taking them down into the water, if they continue to press the button, it will actually lay them back in the bath.
Host: So as we’re looking here, we have got the two chairs. We have the first one - just a very simple chair that is all one unit, whereas the second one sort of reclines a bit, where the clients would have their back that can then lower down into the bath. And you’ve also got - is that a sort of slip mat prevention there?
Mel: Yeah, although sometimes being able to slide around a little bit actually helps with the transfer in and out, so that’s down to personal preference really. It’s a bit of extra comfort, I guess. We have inflatable bath lifts, which a lot of your listeners might have seen in their Sunday supplement papers. And again, I can’t stress enough the need for assessment with these. They can be a dangerous product in the very nature of them. Because they inflate, until they are fully inflated, they are quite wobbly, and we have two different types. One is a mains one, which some people think - mains in a bathroom? But obviously, it is a safe product, but you just have to plug it in outside the bathroom. The other one is battery operated, as most of them are. That one is a little more portable, I’d say - works with a compressor, as they both do, but it’s a battery operated compressor which will inflate that cushion. And then the last one that we have is again one that people might have seen in their Sunday magazines and supplements - I call it our conveyor belt bath lift. And again, I can’t emphasize that assessment is crucial with that one, because it doesn’t suit everyone. We sell not very many of these at all because of the nature of them. They look as if they are going to do wonders, but unless you are relatively fit, they will not suit you.
Host: Just looking down at it now - so this is the conveyor belt one that we have here.
Mel: Would you actually like to have a go on it?
Host: What we have here is...
Mel: This is a mockup of a bath, basically, because this one would need to be fitted permanently in someone’s home. It’s not a portable type bath lift, okay? So this metal frame that I’m showing you, you have to pretend that’s the bath.
Host: Right, so what we’ve got is the edge of the bath and now you’re putting across what is this?
Mel: A conveyor belt. It’s a coated canvas conveyor belt. It’s the only way I can describe it. It feeds out of a stall that sits at the side of the bath.
Host: So you pull it out from the side, it goes across the bath, it’s very thin but very strong. So I’m going to try now.
Ron: So you are sitting above the bath, above the water and you’re ready to go.
Host: There you go. Above the bath, and above the water. I’m on the conveyor belt now.
Mel: I’m pressing the button. Now if you stay sitting exactly where you were, because it’s feeding out from one source, you would start to keel over. You’re beginning to go already to your right, I think. So you have to be able to hitch your way along. You’re sitting on a slit mat, so you need to be able to hitch your hips this way to be in the right position, really.
Host: There we are. So as I’m being lowered, the conveyor belt is coming out from the side. There is more of the belt, but it is obviously lowering me down into our mock bath here. So I am slowly going down. There we are. That’s fantastic!
Mel: Should we bring you back out?
Host: I think so.
Mel: Okay, I notice you are leaning back. Again, that could be quite dangerous in a slippery bath with water, so we would always encourage people to sit forward. And again, because it is feeding into one place, yeah, you’re beginning to slide off the thing so we would need you to hitch. So anyone with any hip problems or back problems, this probably would not be suited for, but that’s the emphasis on assessment. And this stall on the outside means that people can transfer out of the bath a little more safely, because they can sit on that and then swing their legs out and around, and they’ve got a stall in their bathroom as well.
Host: That’s fantastic. So as it is raising up now, I’m back to being horizontal again, and that would mean that I can come out of the bath, so there we are, straight out!
Mel: Keeping on the bathroom theme, we deal with continence products as well. We have various different types of products here as well that people are able to purchase from us direct. There are all sorts of smaller items as well. There’s a simple board that might help somebody access their bath, who might have a shower over the bath, but are having problems physically climbing in and out. So just by fitting a simple board over the top, they can sit and swing their legs over. We’ve got other little products that people may not even be aware of. There’s a special tray that can assist with back washing of hair into a bowl. Getting really personal, we’ve got things that even assist people to wipe their bottoms after they’ve been to the toilet, because some people actually do have problems accessing those sorts of areas.
Host: And within the bathroom mockup that we have here, we’ve obviously got the bath and we’ve got the sink, and just over here, we’ve got the toilet. So this is an adapted toilet. What have we got on here so far?
Mel: On this toilet, we’ve got a portable lift seat so those people who are familiar with riser recliner chair - a chair that will actually help them to stand - this product that is fitted over a standard toilet will actually help someone to stand, again, by means of a battery.
Host: So we’re just seeing now the attachments above the toilet is now rising up and is coming slightly towards us as well.
Mel: So it would physically lift someone up and forward from the toilet. This particular product can also be used as a commode by the bed. As you can see, it has got a bucket in it so it’s not something that you would lift in and out everyday because it is heavy. So you would decide whether it was used over the toilet. But for someone who maybe has a condition that is going to worsen in the future, then it means that while they are still able they can still use their toilet privately with a bit of dignity, but if they become bedridden, it could be put next ot the bed later on.
Host: So dual-purpose, really?
Host: You’ve got a range of rails here as well.
Mel: Yeah, I was just about to say - grab rails again can be very important. Obviously, there’s lots of different designs, styles, colours that we can fit in with people’s own private situations.
Host: So in a way, it’s making it as discreet as possible but also the necessity that they have.
Mel: Yeah, I think one of the things that’s improved over time is a lot of stuff looked really medical in the past. Some of these rails still do that we’ve got on display here, but it’s important to see that manufacturers are getting more into design, style because they realize that we might have a disability but why can’t we have a modern home like everyone else? So it’s getting better. It’s getting better.
Host: Thanks for that, Mel. Now I’m back in the reception area with Edward and Ron. So Ron, first, remind us where you are based.
Ron: We’re based on the Treliske Campus here in Truro. We are open Monday to Friday, 9 - 5. Best if people just ring in advance to make an appointment before they come in, but we’re more than happy for people to drop in off the street.
Host: And Edward, what is the best way to find you?
Edward: The best way to find us is to go on our website, which is www.cornwallmobility.co.uk. To ring ahead is a good idea - it’s 01872 for Truro 254920 - that’s 254920 - 01872 254920, and we’re always delighted to see people. We can show people around, talk about what issues they may have or might perceive within their family. But I can’t emphasize enough the difference which our centre makes compared to other outlets is that we always do an assessment first, whether it’s in the field of driving, continuing to drive, that type of thing; or if it’s an independent living and the need for provision of equipment such as a wheelchair or bathroom equipment.
Host: That’s brilliant. Thank you to Ron and to Edward, and also to Mel. And next time, we’ll be looking at scooters and walkers.