Are you sitting comfortably…?
A good sitting position is key for anyone when going to the toilet, to ease bladder and bowel evacuation, and achieve adequate cleaning. Yet it is something that is often overlooked.
It is surprising how many toileting aids do not take into account the human anatomy, and the need to be sat as erect, and supported, as possible, and to be able to operate the toilet without undue torso distortion.
We see toilets where the user is leant back at 30° or more, so their bottom is pushed forward towards the front edge of the seat, and they are at risk of sliding off the unit completely! We see seats that do not accommodate the user’s size, from a child through to a bariatric, so they are at risk of greater incidence of soiling or ineffective evacuation. We see units with small controls positioned low down or requiring manual operation behind the user.
And, bearing in mind how many of our clients may have limitations on arm, leg strength and balance, we see many where the user has to stretch forward and lean on a washbasin to give them support when getting on and off.
A good toilet should sit the user with 90° bends at the hips and knees, be at the right height so that their feet remain on the floor, and with a seat that supports the bottom but allows the buttocks to be slightly separated.
It is often overlooked that actually, the user needs to feel secure when sat on the loo too. The seat needs to be the correct shape and size- a small child, for example, could slip through a standard seat; by contrast, a bariatric person would not be correctly positioned over the pan. The seat needs to support the user, so their bottom is aligned and buttocks parted, but they should still feel comfortable if sat for a while.
Arm supports can provide additional security, whilst both sat on the toilet and whilst getting on and off. Grab rails are a simple option, assuming there is a wall or site close enough and strong enough to allow their mounting. Alternatively, folding support arms can be attached to the toilet itself, providing the support when required, and folding out of the way when not needed. Some users, especially children, may require torso support.
Get it right, - the toilet’s core design and shape, the seat and associated support- and the user will be properly and effectively cleaned, every time, and in comfort. Get it wrong, and you could end up with users sliding or falling off, urine on the floor- at the least….