Saturday, June 12, 2010

Aarghhh...showering advice needed!!!

HOW do you shower your special needs child without getting saturated???

As you know, after slipping while bathing the children last week, I have declared our house a bath free zone.  I am not prepared to risk another fall, so now we just use the shower.  Showering the children all together is easy if I let Ashlea crawl on the floor with her sisters - although it doesn't work for hair washing night (and probably isn't a particularly good long term option).

Tonight was hair washing night.

I think the whole neighbourhood is now aware of that fact, as there were a few choice, loud words from me as I attempted to shower Ashlea and not get wet.

So...the specifics...I need to know...
- what shower chair do you use?

- how do you get your child into the chair?

- how do you position yourself to not get wet?

- is your shower head fixed or on a rope?

- have you modified your bathroom?  if so - how?

and anything else you can think of that might help?

At the moment we are trialling a shower chair that looks very similar to this one.

The worst part about it is getting Ashlea in.  I have to lift her, and as it has no foot plate (or not one that you can stand on anyway), Ashlea stiffens her whole body and refuses to sit down.  I have to somehow karate chop her in the middle to get her to sit.  Not easy when she is suspended in mid-air.  Tonight I ended up holding her by one arm and one leg and almost tossing her in.  Neither of us was happy, and it was definitely NOT safe!

I think we will have to use one that is low enough to the ground for her to do a standing transfer into.  It won't be good for my back, but I think it has the potential for less injuries in the long term!

Things I have learnt so far...
- do not give the shower hose to a 4 year old to mind while you get the shampoo

- do not give that giving it to the 6 year old will be any better

- the shower hose has a mind of its own

Please God don't let Ashlea repeat any of the choice language she heard tonight at Sunday School tomorrow!!

Obviously we are in need of all the showering advice we can get!! Please leave me your tips!!

PS In kind of related news, I found some great non-slip shoes today.  They are these Sketchers.  Who knew they had a whole range of specifically non-slip shoes???


Becca said...

I have one of these and I get into it with a hoist. I am more stable with it tilted back and it makes hoisting much easier. I also use it for toileting, which works well for me.

My two best mates Phoebe and Katie also have physical impairments.

Phoebe has one of these which does all the work of lifting her up out of the bath, and then one of these nifty stretcher things for getting dried off etc. so that she doesn't have to be lifted anywhere when she's all wet and slippery.

Katie has a straightforward lifting seat, a lot like one of these ones which she's had for years now and can get in and out of the bath on her own with it. As Ashlea can sit quite well and get to standing position with help, I think that this one might work really really well for her, especially cos it can go right down to the floor outside the bath so she can get on it.

Alison said...

Thanks so much for that Becca!! That last one in particular looks really good. Problem is our bathroom is really small - but I'm wondering if I could still fit something like that in. That would be ideal if she could sit in it outside the bath and then it lifted her in and out!!

Missy said...

I cant help you there Alison as you are miles ahead of us in the fact that Ashlea will actually go IN the shower in the first place.
At this point in time we are a bath only family!

Big brother, Little sister. said...

Alison, we are also only baths and you have seen how we are with hairwashing! lol
I have a seat like the one in your top pic but not on wheels, that was a bath chair we used- could Ashlea crawl onto a chair that was on the shower floor to eliminate transferring? she is welcome to our chair if you could see that as an option.
We used a baby bath in the bottom of our shower for a while?
shower together?
good luck

Becca said...

Alison - it only needs about a 2x2 foot square to the side of the bath - Katie pretty much always sits on the loo then sort of pivots round to the bath. It works great, her bathroom isn't big either. I've used her bath thing in the past and thought it was great, much better than bath lifts that only do up and down. And yes, you sit on it on the outside and it goes up and round. Some go high so your feet clear the edge, some have a thing to help get your legs up, and some you need to lift your legs up yourself. Depends what suits.

In case it's relevant, K has CP, walks okay with a walker, a little without and uses a powerchair for functional mobility. She's studying for her MA at the moment.

Obviously getting something like this is quite a big step, expensive etc. but it'll be useful right up till Ashlea grows up and leaves home (and beyond - coming back for visits!) and the potential saving in terms of a) your back and more significantly b) Ashlea's independance, she'd be able to use it on her own in a few years time, or be supported by an assistant (aide/support worker type person) who often can't or won't lift people.

n0thingbuteverything said...

Yet again glad to have all boys so we can just keep hair short and because of damn eczema we don't wash hair at all - just a bath oil all over. We use our baby bath for the boys - one at a time. It's just the right size for sitting in (yes, S is quite short still) so they are safe and saves water too, BUT transfers are a bugger so doesn't solve your problem at all I am afraid :-(. The last of those chairs that Becca posted does look great! What a nifty piece of equipment. I wonder how expensive it would be?

On a more exciting note, love the shoes. big sketchers fan. hope you get them!