For most wheelchair users, enjoying a relaxing and refreshing bath tends to become a tedious and a challenging activity more often than not. Apart from the loss of privacy, the risk involved in transfers is quite serious. It seems more of a task instead of a soothing activity.
What can be done to minimize their risk? How can a shower and commode wheelchair help solve the problem? For people who use wheelchairs, using the bathroom without any hassle has long been a challenging task. It can lead to situations that hamper their self-esteem and leads to accidents and injuries because of the risks involved in the entire bathroom use process. Especially when the users want to travel, it is impossible for them to use the shower or commode without complete help from the attendant. The hotel rooms lack wheelchair friendly “roll in showers” or the wheelchairs that are in use aren’t compatible with the users’ needs. This issue needs to be addressed immediately as bathing is a basic human need but becomes a risky task for wheelchair users on daily basis.
Bathing cleanses the body and is often done for the sake of relaxation and to freshen oneself. But, there is nothing relaxing in it for wheelchair users who go through a struggle every day to do it. It becomes difficult, time-consuming and a potentially high-risk activity for them. In spite of getting help from an attendant, bathing ends up being an undesired task. At times, there might be cases of accidents caused due to improper shifting, small bathroom area where the wheelchair cannot fit or infrastructural injuries. They might even choose to simply bathe out of the sink. It not only involves the risk of accidents but also hampers their self-esteem and dignity as there is a complete loss of privacy.
Apart from accidents and injuries, wheelchair users also have to take assistance from more than one person. And with the charges of professional caregivers being considerably high, bathing might become a very expensive affair as well as risky. Maintaining personal hygiene is a basic human need but wheelchair users have to compromise on it because of many such reasons. Another reason is that the seats of most of the wheelchairs are made of low-quality materials which gets mouldy underwater making it unhygienic for use. Using a wheelchair for shower also makes it rusty as not all the wheelchairs in the Indian market are waterproof and rust proof. It reduces the life of a wheelchair drastically. Thus, the existing wheelchairs in the market aren’t comfortable enough for users and do not really cater to solving these basic human requirements. Although many have tried the option of using a transfer board, it is not always optimal. There is always a risk of slipping and falling which might lead to serious injuries. All of these things get worse with the increasing age of the patient and the chances of risk keep growing. Bathing becomes a risky task for both the wheelchair user and the caregiver as they have to be extremely conscious every minute in order to avoid even the slightest chance of slip. The magnitude of problems wheelchair users experience while bathing and the seriousness of the situation raise many important questions. How unsafe is bathroom access for wheelchair users? What can be the solution for this?
A wheelchair that is specifically designed for use as a shower and commode wheelchair, is rust proof, has a good quality cushion seat, and an option to adjust the width and height can greatly reduce the risk for the wheelchair users. Thus, there is a need for such a good quality shower and commode wheelchair in the Indian market. It can not only reduce the risk of the wheelchair user but also that of the caregiver. It can greatly cut down the need for hiring more than one caregiver. It can help the wheelchair users to actually relax and enjoy the simple pleasures of bathing whenever they want without having to compromise on their privacy and dignity.
A new wheelchair model by Arcatron Mobility called Frido is a major step towards solving these problems. It is a highly-functional shower and commode wheelchair that fits into a suitcase and can be carried along while travelling. It is built with high quality ‘rustproof’ material and a water proof top seat cushion to prevent it from getting mouldy. It also has an option of width reduction which enables it to pass even through narrow doorways. It can be easily rolled in to the bathrooms and the users can take a shower while sitting on the wheelchair itself without having to shift anywhere. It can easily roll-over on the commodes of any height and it drastically reduces the need to transfer the users. It also comes with flipping top seat with easy hygiene access from all sides. The comfortable soft seat is designed by taking into consideration the ergonomics of human body making it an ideal wheelchair for all purposes. It comes with a commode pan that can be used in the case of emergencies. With minimal assistance from the care givers, users can easily perform these basic tasks by themselves and enjoy their privacy.
Frido ensures that you do not risk a fall and land up in a hospital, cause you more pain or ruin your ability to be independent. A shower and commode wheelchair like Frido is a perfect harmony between functionality and portability which is the need of the day as no other wheelchair in the Indian market is capable of solving these genuine problems of the mobility impaired. With Frido, it is time for the wheelchair users to break free and do the mundane things independently.