Watch your back!

 Gong Life Care Solutions - Aquabuddy-Home

Gong Life Care Solutions’ main focus is on providing quality equipment designed with both users and carers in mind. Our products are unique. They assist safety, comfort, and independence in the home. They will definitely amaze you! See them on our website: https://gonglcs.com.au

Watch your back!

Information for carers | Aquabuddy-Home - a safe alternative to bed baths or shower trolleys for those who are dependent

Carers Australia, the national peak body representing Australia’s unpaid carers, defines Carers as: “people who provide unpaid care and support to family members and friends who have a disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness, an alcohol or other drug issue or who are frail aged”

They describe how caring may include help and support in any of the daily activities of the person being cared for. It may include physical and personal care and assistance such as dressing, lifting, showering, feeding or providing transport; managing medication and appointments; emotional, social or financial support.

They also provide some quick-look statistics about Carers, from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2018), which are particularly revealing: 

  • In 2018 there were 2.65 million unpaid carers in Australia
  • Around 861,000 carers (32.5%) are primary carers, those who provide the most informal assistance to another individual
  • The replacement value of the unpaid care provided in 2015 was $60.3 billion - over $1 billion per week
  • The weekly median income of primary carers aged 15 - 64 was 42% lower in 2015 than that of non-carers
  • Seven-out-of-ten primary carers (71.8%) are female
  • The average age of a primary carer is 54.3
  • 235,300 carers are under the age of 25, which equates to around 1 in 11
  • One-third of primary carers provide 40 hours or more of unpaid care per week
  • More than half (51%) of primary carers provide care for at least 20 hours per week
  • 56% of primary carers aged 15 - 64 participate in the workforce, compared to 77% of non-carers
  • It is estimated that carers provided 1.9 billion hours of unpaid care in 2015
  • 12.4% of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population are carers, compared to 10.5% of the non-Indigenous Australian population

 

Looking after yourself too!

Caring, at the same time as being very rewarding, can have some negative impacts on the health of carers. Back injury is one of the common effects of caring.

Every caring situation is different. Some people are full-time carers, and are caring on their own; some share the  caring with other family members or paid home care workers. Some people in need of care really only need minimal or occasional assistance with tasks that they find difficult. Others need round the clock care.

Caring usually includes tasks that are physical. In an employment situation these physical tasks would be called “manual tasks” and are covered by Acts of law in the various states of Australia, and legal definitions. The need for a legal framework has arisen because of the number of injuries sustained by employees due to manual handling tasks - particularly injuries to backs. Safe Work Australia’s most recent compilation of worker’s compensation injury claims reveals that more than one third of “body stressing claims” affected the upper or lower back (38 per cent of these claims).

In an individual home care situation, these tasks include activities such as helping someone get out of bed, into a chair or wheelchair, or into a shower or bath – and many other things.

Carers themselves can also be part of an ageing demographic, so even if you have been undertaking caring tasks for some time, it could be useful to take advantage of some training about the safest way to carry out various tasks involved in everyday caring, use of equipment, moving someone, et cetera.  This means having a trained professional show you how. Talk to your GP about your needs and concerns. You may be able to get a referral for an Occupational Therapist (OT) to visit you at home to show you how to lift and/or use any special equipment.

An OT can also advise on special home modifications if this has not already been done in your home – looking at things such as handrails and wheelchair ramps which can make manual handling tasks safer.

Advice for people at greater risk of coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Australian Government Department of Health Website has current information regarding people at greater risk of more serious illness with COVID-19. Check this website, plus your own State government website to remain up to date with the latest advice. health.gov 

Taking care of hygiene – and your back!

In terms of personal hygiene practices in the caring situation, our Aquabuddy-Home shower-in-bed system was designed for assistants/carers to use in place of traditional assisted bathing and showering aids and methods, either in aged care facilities or at home. In nursing homes, residents who are sick, frail, or not able to walk, are usually transferred to the bathroom using shower trolleys or commode chairs. The use of shower trolleys in private homes is often not feasible due to their size.

Aquabuddy-Home is now available in Australia as a viable option to moving someone to the bathroom or awkward washing in the bed. Our system is adaptable to any bed – it literally turns hygiene care into an easy, quick and safe process. It is beneficial for people whose mobility is severely restricted, or for those whose pain levels preclude a lot of moving and transferring - people who are unable to wash or shower themselves independently.

You can see a demonstration video of the Aquabuddy-Home system in use, on our webpage: Aquabuddy-Home

Aquabuddy-Home eliminates the need to do difficult transferring to the bathroom which in many homes is quite small and can therefore be too cramped for easy access on a commode chair or in a wheel chair. It can be uncomfortable, painful, and difficult for both people.

Assisting elderly or frail persons to shower or bath has been described by caregivers as one of the hardest caregiving  tasks of all. From the recipient’s point of view, bathing or showering may be positive or negative depending on their experiences.  Reasons for refusal of bathing or showering can include pain, fear, cold, embarrassment and feelings of loss of control. So if we can focus on reducing these factors we can create a more person-centred approach with less anxiety all round.

Some tips for managing bath or shower time include:

- create a warm environment for the room

- play music, and/or try a sing-a-long with the person’s old favourites

- utilise aromatherapy, such as lavender, rosemary, peppermint or ylang-ylang essential oils

- try using sensory bridging techniques such as providing a favorite/familiar soap or shampoo to smell before engaging the person in the showering activity.

- and very importantly, take care with privacy.  Keep the person's body covered as much and as often as possible leading up to and during the procedure. Even whilst showering in bed using the Aquabuddy-Home system, it’s nice to utilise extra towels/cloths to cover the person even though they will get wet. The feeling of privacy is very important.

Full shower or quick clean-up

Aquabuddy-Home is an electronic showering device that allows people to experience a full shower, or to be washed in a specific area, such as the perineal area, or to have their hair shampooed, directly in the bed. Special, simple equipment is included to suit these purposes and make it quick and easy to carry out the process and prevent any mishaps with bed linen and water! 

A quality product

The European Commission reported on the Aquabuddy system in its research results magazine, in an article entitled ‘No More Bath-time Anxiety for At-home Bedridden Patients’. The sub-heading stated:

“A new miniaturised, portable shower system for use in bed is a groundbreaking solution to the problems of maintaining hygiene for independent living for those with restricted mobility”

They called it “a new generation of home shower. “

Our Aquabuddy system is classified as a medical device. It is made in Italy, and is certified by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and European Conformity (CE).  Gong Life Care Solutions is the sole Australian supplier for this system.

Bibliography

  1. Carers Australia web site, home page https://www.carersaustralia.com.au
  2. Carers Australia web site, About Carers, https://www.carersaustralia.com.au/about-carers/statistics
  3. Carers Victoria website, Carers and Back Problems Information Flyer https://www.carersvictoria.org.au/resources/publications/brochures-and-flyers
  4. Safe Work Australia, Australian workers’ compensation statistics 2017–18, https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/doc/australian-workers-compensation-statistics-2017-18
  5. ‘No More Bath-time Anxiety for At-home Bedridden Patients’, July 2018, pdf version, Research *eu Results Magazine no. 74, p. 20. https://cordis.europa.eu/article/id/223805-no-more-bathtime-anxiety-for-athome-bedridden-patients

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