28-year-old Katherine Orman from Southampton, who lives with severe disabilities, can now experience the pleasure of being bathed at home thanks to a Gemini platform bath from Abacus Healthcare.
Katherine requires 24-hour care from her mother, Gillian, and a Social Services care team. As Katherine has grown, bathing her at home had become extremely difficult and resulted in more bed washing. Since Katherine is unable to walk, moving her between rooms, from her bed and into the bath, requires transfer equipment such as hoists and wheelchairs. Although these have resolved many moving and handling issues, bathing Katherine in a standard bath was still problematic. It was especially challenging for carers who had to manually lift Katherine in and out of the bath. This situation improved dramatically when Abacus Healthcare was commissioned to install a powered, height-adjustable bath with built-in changing platform.
Gillian explains: “I first discovered this bath at the local Bradbury centre which provides respite care for disabled individuals and their families. I enquired about their Gemini and decided this style of bath would be perfect for Katherine. The care team were more than happy to help me bathe Katherine and demonstrate all the features it provided. As it has an integrated height-adjustable platform, I could change Katherine above the water line and lower her gently into the temperature-controlled water to bathe. This meant additional transfers could be avoided and my back was protected against potential injury.”
Gillian continues: “Bath-time was supposed to be a relaxing, pleasurable experience for Katherine and I. However in reality, using a standard bath meant each visit to the bathroom was very stressful. Bathing at home was becoming impossible, as Katherine would get agitated when I’d mention bath-time and I would be anxious about damaging my back.”
Gillian contacted her local council and her Occupational Therapist, Pauline Dix to enquire about the possibility of a powered bath being installed in her home. Following home assessments to identify the specific challenges that the Ormans were facing, Pauline approached Abacus Healthcare to assist with the project and installation of a new bath.
Abacus Area Sales Manager, David Bertorelli, visited several times to provide guidance and offer support throughout the installation process. David assessed Katherine’s needs, the requirements of her primary carer, Gillian, and to understand the moving and handling challenges they faced day-to-day. It was then clear the Gemini bath would match her bathing needs perfectly, enhanced further by a more accessible bathroom.
David completed a full survey and supplied room layout designs to ensure maximum access for a wheelchair and hoists. Before and during the bathroom conversion, David liaised directly with the building contractor to ensure all bath pre-installation requirements were met. This allowed the specialist Abacus fitters to install the Gemini bath in a matter of hours. David then returned to provide user training after completion.
Gillian summarised: “I can honestly say our new Gemini bath has improved our lives and happiness no-end. Being able to manoeuvre around the bathroom quickly and easily is so crucial. I have also been free of back pain for the first time in a long while. I can now comfortably bathe Katherine everyday and when I say ‘bath-time’ to her, Katherine’s eyes light up and she gives me a big smile which is quite simply priceless.”