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Stella(r) aid to independence

  • Angela May

When inspiration comes to artist Stella Maris Kinread, the last thing she has to worry about is comfort breaks.

Stella MarisThe issue is one close to the Perth painter, as she has Muscular Dystrophy. As a result, she has no sit to stand function. She has therefore created her studio at home, and has had her home adapted so she can remain as independent as possible. Widened doors and automatic door entry are key features to enable her to move around in her wheelchair, whilst a Closomat Lima Lifter height adjustable wash & dry toilet addresses her toileting.

She bought the Lima Lifter after seeing it at Naidex (the UK’s main disability show). Looking like- and capable of being used as- a conventional WC, the Lima Lifter can automatically be raised and lowered as the user requires at the push of a button; integrated douching and drying spare the user having to manually wipe themselves clean.

To help her use the Lima Lifter as her condition deteriorates, Stella has supplementary operating devices, beyond the standard pads on the close-coupled cistern: she has both a remote control to lower and raise the toilet to the height she wants from her wheelchair to assist transfer, and a soft-touch hand switch to operate the flushing, douching and drying processes.

Thus she can focus when creating oils on canvas and watercolours in her studio, which are hung and sold in various galleries, and made into cards that she sells online (www.artygems.com and www.perthshirepaintings.uk) with a percentage of the proceeds going to Muscular Dystrophy UK. When she needs the toilet (something we do on average eight times a day!), Stella knows she can ‘go’ without needing a carer.

“When I saw it at the exhibition, I knew it would solve my mobility difficulties for toileting. I cannot stress what a difference it has made. I am able to go to the toilet without assistance! It is fantastic for anyone with no sit to stand function,” says Stella. “The rising function is crucial for me to do anything without help- my wheelchairs, bed and bath all have that action too.”

Made in the UK, Closomat’s Lima Lifter is the only wash & dry toilet that can be automatically height-adjusted with each use. It can be adjusted as low as 455mm up to 755mm, and can bear up to 120kg (18½ st). As with all Closomat’s wash & dry toilets, it delivers the best douche performance on the market (up to 8l/minute). It is WRAS approved, verifying that it complies with appropriate water regulations.

Adds Stella, “It’ safe, hygienic and reliable- I’ve had it 10 years and not had a problem: I have one of Closomat’s maintenance contracts so it is annually checked and serviced.”

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Closomat Limited, Building 1, Brooklands Place, Brooklands Road, Sale Cheshire, M33 3SD