Komodo image

Cortech Healthcare, a UK specialist in assisted living and rehabilitation, has launched a new innovative product called the Komodo: a powered shower chair and commode which aims to improve the quality of life and dignity of users.

The original idea for Komodo first came from a graduate engineer who had a moderate disability. Aware of the burden and strains placed upon the caring community, especially his Mum in her role as a nurse, the Komodo was created with the users’ wants and needs in mind.

Komodo combines four products into one – a stable transfer chair, stand-alone commode, a stand assist raiser for use over the toilet, and a multi-positional shower chair, eliminating the need for several pieces of equipment that clutter the bathroom and bedrooms and cause trip hazards.

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The multi-function solution provides the physical benefit of helping the caring team and the user in a way that is specifically customised to their physical characteristics and movement needs, increasing personal autonomy. It is lightweight to facilitate ease of movement and comes with a handset remote control for enhanced dignity.

“Dignity is very hard to measure but you instantly know when you’ve lost it.”

Where rehabilitation forms part of the care programme, Komodo assists through the accurate mirroring of human movement to re-engage appropriate muscles.

A further feature of the Komodo is easy-to-use rechargeable batteries to achieve a wide range of positioning assistance to reduce the strain on the caring community. The Komodo also increases independence through easy customisation, set up and control.

Before launching the product, Cortech Healthcare’s research found that there was a gap between what a product does for a person and how it makes that person feel. The company says that the experience and emotional response to how users engage with Komodo is as equally important as the primary purpose.

Cortech Healthcare Operations Director Ian Felmeri commented: “We looked at lots of materials before choosing lightweight aluminium, as it gives great stability whilst pushing nervous vulnerable residents from bed to toilet, but also enables us to achieve between 25-50% reduction in muscular effort from the carer compared to old fashioned shower chairs. Moving the resident from bedroom to shower room in Komodo may also eliminate some sling lifts from the process, which would be a blessing for all concerned.”

Discussing why it is important for people to have a product that not only serves a specific purpose but also makes them feel good, Les Lindsay, CEO of Cortech Healthcare, told AT Today: “With the Komodo, if we can make it easier for people to shower, for instance, then they feel as though they’re clean, less embarrassed by their frailty, and can more easily accept visitors into their homes. It means they can avoid these feelings of social isolation and is a classic demonstration of using assistive technology correctly to maintain dignified, independent living.”

With the launch of Komodo, Cortech Healthcare is aiming to reframe the use of assistive technology and why dignity matters in the community and care home settings.

Due to increased user independence when using the Komodo, this provides an opportunity for safe single-handed care, reducing the number of carers needed to assist the individual.

Les also added that maintaining user dignity was one of the most important considerations when designing the Komodo: “We recognise that there is no one perfect position for everyone undergoing toileting or showering, so we needed a design that offers a huge range of battery assisted positioning options. The Komodo is designed to keep the user feeling as dignified as possible during movement, offering less fuss and bother for all concerned.

“If it also brings that range of movement into the home setting, we’ll succeed in helping more users lead an independent life at home, reducing the costs of care.”

You can see the Komodo in action in the video below:

Early feedback from one study by Cortech Healthcare suggests this ease of positioning can reduce showering time by about 15 percent in a busy care home setting. It also increased the scope of residents who could be showered more often, again increasing dignity.

“Our initial calculations show that using such assistive technology equipment not only saves carer back injuries but may also offer a payback in less than 6 months”, Les continued, “dignity is very hard to measure but you instantly know when you’ve lost it.”

Gordon Dodd, Head of Brand Strategy at Great North Digital, the digital agency that works on behalf of Cortech Healthcare, told AT Today how it has tried to take a utilitarian piece of equipment and turn it into something that adds real value to clients and healthcare professionals: “One of the challenges that Les set ourselves in Great North Digital was translating, effectively, a very utilitarian piece of equipment – a commode chair – into something that can offer real value to people.”

He said that this “breakthrough” thinking was based upon five key elements, which are:

  • Reduce bathroom-burden: Washing makes you feel good
  • Two-way benefit: Patient wellbeing – carer wellbeing
  • Help the helper: Innovative technology as aid to carer provider organisations
  • It all adds up: Stress-free bathroom delivers dignity and carer enrichment
  • Fun and functional: The Komodo brand needs to deliver a sense of ‘retail’ value-add, and not be seen as utility only

“A great opportunity to move in this direction was the use of a character-led delivery brand, Komodo,” continued Gordon. “This immediately places emphasis upon additional benefits available to each of the users and the caring team, and allows a greater level of emotional engagement with the product.”

After speaking to a range of healthcare professionals, the team at Great North Digital discovered that professionals want to provide a quality product that offers real value to their clients.

“Currently, people look at products on a one-dimensional basis that is what’s the cheapest product available,” Gordon continued. “They look at the cost of the provision of the article against the use of the article for that proposition, in this case going to the toilet or showering.

Cortech Healthcare Komodo image“So what’s required is a costs-benefit analysis. We’ve been pushing hard on speaking to OTs about this element in terms of time saved, dignity returned, engaging with society, eating better, less time spent in due course with medical practitioners and so on. We recognise that Komodo is not needed for every client, but for some, it is a real game changer!

“We want to provide individuals with a quality product that provides more benefits longer term and not be a case of the cheapest product available that might not meet that individual’s needs in the long-run.”

Alongside offering safer single-handed care and being a multi-purpose product, other important features of the Komodo include:

  • A custom-made soft PU seat and back to provide the user with support and comfort, with a horseshoe version available if required
  • A lap belt for user security whilst tilted or in motion
  • Adjustable footrests and a headrest to support the feet and the head while reclining in the shower function and when mobile
  • Pre-programmable buttons on the handset to achieve standard repeatable positioning for the individual
  • The ability to recline the chair backwards to – 35 degrees, allowing the carer to wash and rinse the user in a position that is comfortable for both parties

To find out more about the Komodo, visit https://www.cortech-healthcare.com/

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