Grace and Olivia Case Study: Single-handed care for an elderly relative with arthritis

Grace is 80 years old and lives with her daughter, son-in-law and two teenage grandchildren. Grace has several physical conditions, including arthritis, which has led to 2 hips and one knee being replaced over ten years ago. Consequently, Grace’s mobility has deteriorated, and she now needs hoisting for all transfers. Grace and her family have been preparing for this, and Grace has a bedroom on the ground floor of the house, with part of the garage converted into a shower area and toilet. Grace moving to residential care is not an option Grace or her family want.

Grace’s Daughter Olivia works from home and wants to support her mum. Still, following discussions, they believe that proper care will be required to ensure Olivia can work and maintain a good balance between being a carer for her Mum and her daughter.

Grace and Olivia discuss their concerns with a social worker who recommends an Occupational Therapy (OT) assessment. On meeting the OT, Grace discusses her wish to continue to use a toilet and not wear pads for as long as possible. Grace also stated she would like to be able to sit in a chair also. Olivia says that her Mum leans to the left over time and can sometimes start to slip forward.

The OT suggests a package of interventions to meet Grace’s needs, supports her wish to allow her daughter to help her and enables the provision of formal care. The OT discusses the concept of single-handed care, which can support Olivia in demonstrating techniques and equipment to help, and care agencies in the locality are also trained to provide this level of care.

The OT arranges for a Ceiling Track Hoist (CTH) to replace the current mobile hoist, and a bed management system is provided. The OT looks at Grace’s wish to continue to use the toilet and sit out in a chair. When assessing Grace’s postural needs, the OT establishes that a well-fitted shower chair that can fit over the toilet and support Grace at the hips and the lower thoracic area would help her maintain a good upright position. The OT chooses a T40 shower chair which he builds in his local stores to Grace’s measurements. The T40 height is adjusted so it moves easily over the toilet, allowing Grace to use the toilet as usual and making it easy for one handler.

The OT picks a Dartex seat that is more comfortable than standard material coverings and side support that help hold the hips and the lower thoracic area comfortably, preventing Grace from leaning – making toileting and showering a more pleasant experience. The OT also provides a lap strap to stop Grace from sliding forward over time and holding the hips in an optimal position.

The OT also sources a Brooklyn Recliner chair from his regional stores. The OT chose this chair as it can be moved between rooms allowing Grace to spend time with family in family areas. It has a good degree of pressure care support and postural support, ensuring Grace’s comfort and consideration of longer-term needs.

These provisions, along with OT support and guidance to the family, enable Grace’s wishes and empower Olivia and local care providers to support Grace’s care and wellbeing within a caring family environment.

Case study courtesy of our friends at Athena Handling Ltd.

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