The Rehab Shower Commode — Improving The Quality of Life
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), approximately 17,000 new Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI) occur every year.¹ Estimates are that in 2016, approximately 282,000 people in the United States were living with SCI. Statistics also show that approximately 81% of spinal cord injuries have occurred in males, with the main causes being 1) vehicular crashes, 2) falls, and 3) acts of violence (typically gunshot wounds). Since the 1970s, the average age at injury has increased from 29 years to 42 years.
Rehabilitation centers and the Veterans Administration (VA) have long worked to establish programs that specialize in the rehabilitation of SCI patients. Learning to manage the everyday activities and care of patients with these injuries has become a growing priority and a way to improve their quality of life.
The Quest to Improve Mobility for Spinal Cord Injury Patients
In the past year GF Health Products, Inc. (“Graham-Field”) has reintroduced the Everest & Jennings® Rehab Shower Commode Wheelchair to the market in hopes of promoting SCI independence and, once again, it is proving to be a fundamental aid in self-sufficiency for patients living with SCI. This popular wheelchair has stood the test of time, proving a preferred item by many of our veterans.
Daily Activities for SCI Patients
Depending on the extent of the injury, patients might have incomplete or complete tetraplegia or paraplegia, requiring a different approach for bowel management. Decreased motility, causing a lack of muscle control, is also an issue. Fecal incontinence can occur, but so can constipation. Among the aids to address the daily activity of bowel management is a contoured seat shape, providing comfort and enabling access for both caregiver and user.
The Rehab Shower Commode has a vented optimal foam compressed seat, securely tightened to the stainless steel frame with metallic hooks screwed to the plywood sealed-vinyl seat. The seat’s marine-grade plywood allows it to dry, so not only toileting activities but showering activities can be performed. The use of push-to-lock wheel locks on each 24” rear wheel increases control on a wet surface. The most important feature is the sturdy stainless steel frame that not only prevents corrosion and rust, but provides durability. The swingaway footrests are also made of stainless steel.
Check out this video of the Rehab Shower Commode!
Increasing the SCI Patient’s Self-Sufficiency
Many times, the caregiver is the patient’s parent or spouse, and the relationship suffers as the roles change. Increasing the patient’s self-sufficiency during the daily routine helps not only the patient but the caregiver as well; they can both benefit from the user’s increased independence.
Rehab Shower Commode Features and Options
The Rehab Shower Commode has completely removable full-length arms. It is available with durable 24″ one-piece composite wheels with plastic handrims and solid rubber tires, or optional 5” casters if preferred, as shown at right. It is available with either a 14 ¼” low back or 17 ¼” high back.
A removable, washable plastic pail and lid are included, and an optional C-shaped seat is also available.
The Versatile Rehab Shower Commode
This sturdy, practical wheelchair can be positioned over the toilet, used as a standalone commode, and can also function as a foldable, transportable everyday wheelchair — a plus in terms of storage and transportability — making it much more versatile than other commodes on the market. The user can either self-propel into the shower or be pushed by a caregiver.
Not only Injuries are Addressed by this Wheelchair
A person can become paraplegic or quadriplegic for many reasons; common diagnoses include ALS, trauma fall, motor vehicle accident, osteoporosis , hereditary spastic paraplegia, spina bifida , multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, stroke, spinal cord compression or trauma, dislocation of spine, and polyneuropathy.
My father was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in 1998. Although he has already passed away, I will never forget how very much he valued his independence. Life can be ironic; I never imagined I’d be in the field and understand so well the two sides of the patient and a family member, and also deal with the many specialists also participating in rehabilitation therapy and treatment.
As We Work for the Cure, We Work to Improve Lives
I recognize the enormous courage of all users with any of these diagnoses. As their conditions gradually advance or pause, depending on each situation, our only course is to strive to improve daily living for users and ease the work of their caregivers. I recognize as well the courage of the caregivers, spouses, daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, nurses, doctors, surgeons, neurologists, therapists, and all advocacy groups that work tirelessly to seek better alternatives. They all want the best for their users, and that is our purpose as well: to facilitate.
This wheelchair can certainly make someone’s life easier. The surrounding positive effect in the home or facility can increase independence and allow patients to perform basic activities that we normally take for granted. As we work for the cure, we work to improve the lives of the users and adapt to their changing world. For this we developed a wider Rehab Shower Commode, now 20” wide. It comes with 24” rear wheels and either 16” low or 19” high back heights. It is still made of stainless steel with a larger oval seat. This updated wheelchair has a weight capacity of 300 lb as the market now requires.
New Wider Rehab Shower Commode Models
In addition to the five previous 250 lb-capacity Rehab Shower Commode models, we will now have two new wider models that will be 16” and 19” back height with 24” rear wheels.
These new wider skus will have the following improvements:
- A weight capacity of 300 lb evenly distributed
- Wider oval seat and pail holder
- Longer-shaft footrest to accommodate taller patients
- Longer full-length arms for taller patients
- Nylon tires for increased durability
We listened to our vets and users, and in response, are providing an updated solution that is still foldable with all the benefits of the narrower wheelchairs. We hope you find it practical — demographics have changed and we must respond to the times. The adaptable Rehab Shower Commode can ease life for institutions as well as patients and caregivers at home.
¹ National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), University of Alabama at Birmingham: https://www.nscisc.uab.edu/
Maria Garcia Silva is a Product Manager/ International Marketing Manager at Graham-Field.
About GF Health Products, Inc.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with more than 300 US-based employees, GF Health Products, Inc. is a major manufacturer of healthcare products for the acute care, extended care, homecare and primary care markets. The Graham-Field family of brands includes Basic American Medical Products, Everest & Jennings, Grafco, Hausted, John Bunn, Labtron, Lumex and Lumiscope. Visit www.grahamfield.com or call 770-368-4700. Everest & Jennings, Graham-Field, and Traveler are trademarks of GF Health Products, Inc. © 2016, GF Health Products, Inc., all rights reserved.