Mobile Shower Commode Chairs: When Customizing Is Critical to Success
After the wheelchair, the Mobile Shower Commode Chair (MSCC) can be the most important piece of equipment a person with a mobility-related disability uses every day. Consider how much time a hygiene routine can typically take, and how critical an effective hygiene regimen is to good health, and you can see the right MSCC is an absolute necessity. That’s why it deserves to be given the same degree of respect and consideration as the primary wheelchair.
If not optimized for the user, MSCCs can be a source of functional limitation and pressure injuries. In order to optimize an MSCC, the frame needs to fit the client. Someone 6’8” tall will need different frame dimensions than someone who is 4’10”. Therefore, working with a manufacturer that has the ability to optimally fit and customize an MSCC order is not just smart business; it’s also in the best interests of consumers and caregivers.
How can you determine whether an MSCC manufacturer offers the customizability and range of options that you need? Ask these questions:
(1) Does the manufacturer have a range of standard frame widths and depths? Generally speaking, a wider range of standard sizes can provide a good foundation from which to start.
(2) When “standard” won’t work, what options does the manufacturer offer? There will always be the need for special dimensions or features; after all, complex rehab clients have complex, unique needs.
Raz Design, a manufacturer of bath and hygiene systems for consumers with significant mobility-related disabilities, suggested inquiring if the manufacturer is capable of offering custom modifications such as these:
• Longer frame
• Taller frame
• Lower frame
• Wider frame
• Back frame narrower than base frame
• Taller back frame
• Arm height changes
• Back angle changes
• Leg supports
(3) What’s the timeline for a custom order? When you do need to place a custom order, what’s the delivery timeline going to be? Ask if your order will be substantially delayed.
In the case of Raz Design, a spokesperson said, “You can expect custom frame work to delay an order by about a week. If it’s only a custom seat, the delay will be just two to three days, assuming that we have the information we need to design and build what is needed. Additional delays occur when we are waiting for additional information.”
(4) What happens if the MSCC doesn’t work for the client? This is complex rehab; sooner or later, a product will end up not working as ordered for the client. It’s inevitable. So what will the manufacturer’s response be? Finding a flexible partner to work with you and your client is key to a great outcome.
“We are very flexible when it comes to custom, unless you’ve demanded that we make something that we don’t think will work — we will let you know,” Raz Design said. “If something goes wrong, we’ll work with you to make it right. For example, we offer one free re-make of any custom seat.”
(5) Is the product line safe? What methods has the manufacturer used to test products to safety standards?
In the case of Raz Design, a spokesperson said, “Raz is ISO 13485 registered, so we test all of our products to ensure that they are safe and perform as intended. Tests are performed by independent labs and on our own double-drum tester. When we make frame changes, we do so within the tested ranges. For example, we have tested our Raz-AT chairs to 30” wide. Anything we fabricate below 30” wide will be safe because 30” is the ‘worst-case’ condition. For many custom jobs, including all custom seats, our engineering department creates drawings. These can be made available to you if requested.”
The bottom line is that the importance of getting the correct sizing and fit for an MSCC is critical, even if that means asking the manufacturer to provide customization for a difficult-to-fit consumer. Therefore, working with a manufacturer who can skillfully and cheerfully accommodate custom orders can be a bath/hygiene system best practice.
“Don’t be afraid,” Raz Design said, “to request a custom modification if it will result in a better outcome for your client.”
This story is sponsored by Raz Design.