Most people take their WC for granted. For Multiple Sclerosis sufferer Kathleen Bergin, it is much more….
“It was quite a surprise when I first used it, but it’s an absolute godsend,” she says.
The WC in question is a Closomat Palma Vita wash & dry (automatic shower) toilet, installed in her wetroom at her home in Hertfordshire but used by all the family.
The Closomat Palma Vita looks like- and can be used as – a conventional WC, as Kathleen’s family do. She uses the integrated douching and drying facility. Remaining seated after toileting and triggering the flush process prompts simultaneous flushing and warm water douching followed by warm air drying. There is no need to manually wipe clean.
Kathleen was diagnosed with MS 19 years ago, when she was referred to a neurologist after bouts of numbness and pins & needles made her think she had a trapped nerve- two months before discovering she was pregnant. When her marriage broke down a couple of years later, she and her son moved in with her mother. As her condition has deteriorated, her social housing provider (B3 Living) has adapted the family home within site/ property limitations to accommodate her limitations, using Disabled Facilities Grant funding to create a downstairs bedroom and en-suite.
“There’s not a lot of space, I can’t even turn my wheelchair round in the wetroom, but I’m lucky to have it at all!” comments Kathleen. “The Closomat’s no bigger than a ‘normal’ toilet, so I manage. It was one of the first aids I had, and made such a difference as it meant I could go to the toilet without help.
“We have future-proofed it, in that I have a touch sensitive hand switch, so I can still use it as my condition deteriorates. Bending my arms is now a real issue, but at the moment I can still use the standard flush pad, with my elbow.”
The Closomat Palma Vita is the brand leader, and delivers the best wash & dry performance on the market. It is also the only unit of its kind with the ability to be adapted- initially, or retrospectively as the user’s needs change- to accommodate different limitations. The touch sensitive switch Kathleen has is just one accessory that can be added at any point; others include an infra-red operating switch, seat and douche options, arm and lateral support systems, and a toilet lifter.
The Palma Vita is the only wash & dry toilet developed specifically for disabled people, and is the only one of its kind manufactured in the UK. Closomat, the company behind the brand, is also unique in giving clients a complete in-house support package- design/ specification advice, supply, install, commissioning, and ongoing service & maintenance.
Explains Robin Tuffley, Closomat marketing manger, “If you have a limitation, something like a Closomat is life-changing, as our clients repeatedly tell us. It’s of paramount importance therefore, in our eyes, that our clients can be assured we are there to help, throughout.”