Abacus donates bath to DIY-SOS image

Johanna Lane and partner Will from Bromsgrove have been donated an Abacus specialist bath as part of a BBC TV home transformation so disabled sister Karis can stay with greater comfort, safety and independence.

Karis Lane, aged 28, is a lively and positive student studying Social Sciences who has Cerebral Palsy, Asperger’s and Turner Syndrome. Outside of college, she is cared for by her mother, Karen, aged 63, who lives in Stourbridge, and older sister Johanna with a house in Bromsgrove.

Karis requires a wheelchair to remain mobile and carer assistance with everyday living – this includes lifting between a chair, bed, toilet and bath. This manual carrying of Karis was becoming impossible for Karen as she has multiple health issues such as rheumatoid spondylitis.

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Support for Karis was shared between Karen and Johanna, however, neither owned an accessible house with appropriate facilities. Karen urgently needed respite assistance and Johanna wanted to help more – so an application was sent to the BBC TV programme DIY-SOS.

The ‘Big Build’ included a two-storey side extension and reconfiguration of the complete property so appropriate space and wheelchair access would be available for Karis. A key element of the conversion was the installation of specialist equipment to assist with daily living – hence the DIY-SOS production team sent out donation requests to caring companies such as Abacus.

Before the build, senior representatives from Abacus visited Johanna’s house to assess Karis and to ascertain which bath would provide the ideal solution for her. A Scorpio 1700 bath with powered height adjustment and bather transfer seat was deemed most appropriate as it would eliminate the need for manual lifting and lowering of Karis.

Once Karis was lifted, rotated and lowered into the bath on the transfer seat, the bath could be raised, gently immersing Karis into temperature-controlled water. This would provide a safer, more enjoyable experience for Karis and allow family members to help with personal hygiene at a comfortable height, without risking back or muscle injury.

During the construction work, the Abacus design and technical teams were in regular contact with project managers to ensure all pre-installation works were completed according to the required specification. On the ‘reveal day’, the Lane family discovered they had a new Abacus bath which was a “complete shock.” As a caring and ethical business, passionate about assisting individuals with disabilities, Abacus provided the Scorpio 1700 bath, planning, installation and commissioning free of charge.

This accessible bathing solution will now deliver a huge improvement as Johanna explains: “We never imagined we would receive a specialist bath as part of the conversion, we are so lucky. I have tended to bathe my sister the most and being tall, 5’ 9”, my back has been getting worse having to bend and lift Karis in and out all the time. Trying to lift and dry her when she was wet and slippery was a nightmare. This resulted in more strip washes when sat on the toilet which were not pleasant for Karis. Now she can have a proper bath and feel completely clean.”

Karis added: “I always worry the help I need puts too much strain on my Mum, Sister and Wil. I kept saying to my Mum, ‘Am I making your illnesses worse?’ It’s a horrible feeling…now everything is different. Using my Abacus bath for the first time was brilliant, I said ‘I am so happy to be having an actual bath, yeah!’ The seat will take me a bit of time to get used to as it’s different but I feel so much safer than being lifted, especially when wet. I kept crying so much on the reveal day about the bath and everything, it was so emotional.”

As bath-time is much easier for Karis and her family, it is regarded as an enjoyable experience, not an unpleasant necessity.

Abacus will continue to support the family with after sales support and servicing to ensure their Scorpio 1700 continues to provide vital safety and comfort in the bathroom.

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