Case study - how equipment helped Robert


Robert is 68 years old and has post-polio syndrome. He is able to stand and walk around his home, but mostly uses a wheelchair for mobility over longer distances. He has found recently that he is becoming more tired during daily activities such as dressing, and is spending more time using his wheelchair at home. Robert usually dresses and undresses himself, however recently he has needed help from his personal assistants with some dressing tasks. Robert would like to be more independent with dressing, as he is very keen to remain as independent as possible.

The concern:

Robert is now experiencing more pain and fatigue in his legs as well as his upper body. He finds that on some days he does not have the strength to stand for a long period of time, and is having to dress either sitting or lying down. He also has limited shoulder movement, and cannot bend low to the floor to put on shoes and socks, or pick up items from the floor.

The solution:

Robert was visited at home by an occupational therapist from his local authority. The occupational therapist did an assessment with Robert and was able to make some recommendations and supply some equipment to assist him, including:

  1. A dressing stick, to help him pull clothes up and around his shoulders, and up from the floor.
  2. A long handled shoe horn to assist with getting shoes on, without the need to bend low.
  3. A long handled reacher to enable him to pick items up off the floor, as well as pull up trousers and underpants.
  4. Adapted trousers and a urinal, so that Robert would not need to stand or transfer onto the toilet if feeling too fatigued.

The occupational therapist was able to visit Robert several times to show him a range of dressing techniques to help him be more independent and save energy, and gave him some advice on styles of clothing for wheelchair users, to increase his comfort while sitting for longer periods of time.

The outcome:

With some practice, Robert was able to use the equipment when required to help him with more difficult dressing tasks. He followed the advice of his occupational therapist and began choosing clothes that were more simple to put on and take off, and more comfortable for sitting in for longer periods. He is now independent with most dressing tasks again, and rarely needs to ask for assistance.

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