The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is conducting more knee and hip replacement operations than ever before. Surgery in many cases provides ageing people with greatly improved mobility. But joint replacements are major undertakings and inhibit one’s range of motion in the period following the operation. In the initial weeks and months of recovery, the individual may need help to aid mobility.
Sitting Down and Standing Up
One key issue in post-op recovery is using the toilet or bath. The process of sitting down and standing back up again can be particularly difficult after hip surgery. The stiffness and immobility associated with the recovery period is significant.
Many people choose to have support rails installed in the bathroom. Positioning them next to the bath and toilet makes the most sense. In addition to this, a disabled toilet seat may make a difference. Some seats are available which raise the height of the WC. This means there is less distance to travel from a standing position to a sitting one and vice-versa.
A standard toilet seat usually has a height of around 16 inches from the ground. Many raised units increase the sitting height by two, four or even six inches. Lower padded seats may fix the existing seat with some kind of strap. Larger units which give a raise of more than two inches, fix to the toilet bowl itself.
Turn-clamps typically attach the seat to the WC, providing a firm sitting platform. It is vital that these clamps are tightly adjusted, making the overall unit stable and safe.
For those living with the stiffness of a new hip or knee, this makes a big difference. Losing one’s range of motion can come as a shock and it is important to take steps to adapt.
Another type of disabled toilet seat features a cut out section. Usually made from firm padded foam, these seats are comfortable to sit on. Sometimes these have the same basic shape as a standard toilet seat. In other cases there is a cut-out section at the font, allowing easy access beneath the body. This makes for easier personal cleansing.
A more specialist cut-out raised toilet seat has a large section missing on one side. This design is for people who are unable to bend their leg and must keep it straight. The straight leg fits into the cut-out area, allowing them to use the toilet.
Another type of seat has arm supports fitted to it. These project upwards on either side, providing two handles which the use can use to lift themselves up or lower themselves down onto the seat. These substantial units fit securely to the toilet bowl itself. A loosing fitting could create imbalance and lead to injury.
These raised seats are ideal of the user has limited range of motion in the lower half of their body, but good strength in the upper body.
Sitting Down at Shower Times
Elsewhere in the bathroom, a shower chair or bath board fitted across the bathtub may help. If standing for the length of the shower is difficulty, a sitting platform could be the answer.
Ensure that any shower chair you opt for is suitable for wet conditions. This means non-rusting parts and drainage holes in the seat. Non-slip feet are also important. These prevent damage to the shower floor and also guard against accidents.
Folding seats are available which collapse back against the wall of the shower cubicle while they are not in use. This makes them excellent space savers and they often an ideal solution if more than one person uses the shower. Because they bear the whole of someone’s weight, it is important a qualified tradesman installs them. They will take into account the types of fixing required and assess the wall for suitability.
A free-standing shower chair on the other hand, will usually have an aluminium frame. This is a lightweight metal and less likely to corrode than steel. In most cases it is easy to move these chairs in and out of the cubicle as required.