Geoff has an extremely rare chromosomal disorder and suddenly developed severe contractures of his joints (hands, arms, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles and toes) several years ago. This left him bed-bound 24 hours a day, with no specialist equipment in place.
When his occupational therapist took over his care in 2020, she arranged a hoist and custom-built wheelchair to get Geoff mobile again.
“Geoff sits in a cross legged position at all times. He also has kyphosis [curvature of the spine] plus an intellectual disability and quite severe psoriasis from having been in bed with incontinence issues,” his OT explains.
While his carers had done an admirable job to bathe him in bed, Geoff found the process of being rolled over all the time very distressing, so finding an appropriate shower commode was high on his family’s wish list.
“A standard shower commode just wasn’t going to work because of the angle of his crossed legged position,” she explains. “He has a much wider width across his knees compared to his hips and his trunk. So the front part of the chair needs to be a lot wider than the back.
“There wasn’t anything else that I could think of that could accommodate his needs – it had to be the customisable RAZ shower commode.”
Cubro equipment specialist Garry Stanners visited Geoff to take the necessary measurements and ensure the back of the commode was reclined to the correct angle, and the aperture was the right size for Geoff’s slim 40kg frame.
“We wanted the seat to accommodate as much of the surface area of his legs as possible on top of the high density foam in order to prevent any pressure injuries from occurring. So, the seat had to be wide in front but then we also had to be able to get through the doorway – which we can with about a one centimeter gap on each side.”
The fixed back angle of the new commode means Geoff cannot use it over a toilet, but his carers are able to place a bed pan underneath for him instead. “The beauty, in terms of outcomes, is we can actually start to train his bladder and bowels now. He can now hold on and have his bowel motions in a pan in the bathroom instead of lying on a pad in his bed. So that's one of the goals and it’s already starting to take effect.”
Geoff now loves taking a daily shower and his family and agency carers are relieved he’s no longer in distress while being bathed.
“He gets anxious about trying new things but Geoff realised the benefit of the RAZ shower commode straight away so he adapted quite quickly,” his OT says. “Once he was on it, there was no complaining. Even for a dry trial – where they put him on the chair without going into the shower – he had this big smile on his face. It’s just amazing.”