Patients who are elderly or ill may not be able to take care of themselves in several different ways. One of them is good hygiene. Mobility is a serious concern for the elderly, and since they may not be able to manage their own good hygiene, they often must depend on a caregiver. If you have a loved one who is receiving home care, then that caregiver may not always be available. Choosing to install bidet toilets can be extremely helpful for the elderly individuals who do have mobility problems. It will certainly aid in helping them maintain good hygiene and cleanliness.
“In theory, the use of bidets could prevent urinary tract infections…that’s no small thing, particularly for women. Hormonal changes after menopause, plus difficulties with keeping clean, (compounded by incontinence), allow bacteria to colonize. Urinary infections are commonplace in nursing homes and a prime reason that older adults get sent to the hospital.” (Span, 2012) It’s obvious that in any homecare situation, a bidet could be an effective way to maintain better health, help with hygiene, and even help to prevent injuries in the bathroom.
When installing a bidet toilet seat in the bathroom for elderly homecare, there are a few things to consider in order to ensure safety.
ADA compliance will be very important in choosing the bidet toilet seats. They need to be made sturdy, elongated, and comfortable. They should be easy for anyone with mobility problems to use. If you are designing a bathroom for an elderly individual, make sure everything you choose has been named compliant by the Americans with Disabilities Act. This way, you will be able to ensure the loved one is safe from possible injuries.
There should be grab bars included on each side of the bidet toilet seat to ensure the elderly individual will be able to stand up, sit down and maintain their balance. Often, these individuals will not have the strength or mobility to get up from the seat. If they need to use the toilet when they are at home alone, they could slip and fall, which could result in injury.
Creating the ADA Compliant Bathroom
When you are providing homecare for an elderly individual, the bathroom will be one room that you must make the most changes to. That’s because it has the greatest chance of injury for the elderly. You need to ensure each part of the space is ADA compliant, and that means making several changes, including:
- Installing grab bars at the toilet and in the bath to ensure the elderly will be able to stand up, sit down, or keep their balance.
- Installing a walk-in tub so that the elderly doesn’t have to step over the edge of the tub and potentially trip and fall.
- Shower seats so that the elderly individual doesn’t have to stand the whole time they are bathing.
- Sinks that have knee clearance and a high enough mounting so that the elderly patient may wash their hands while sitting in a wheelchair.
- Faucets that have push buttons or levers instead of standard knobs that can be hard to use for patients with disabilities.
- A door that is easy to open without using much force.
Span, P. (2012, March 27). Begin the Bidet. Retrieved October 25, 2013, from New York Times: http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/27/begin-the-bidet/?_r=0