As a day hab assistant at Cerebral Palsy of Westchester County I help adults with severe disabilities in their activities of daily living—toileting included. We use adaptive equipment every day to support our clients’ activities, but I never expected a piece of equipment to completely transform someone’s life like the Rifton TRAM. This device is a brilliant solution to our participants’ toileting needs. Karen’s story illustrates this best.
Karen just turned 40. Friendly and out-going, she plays basketball from her wheelchair and works a shift at Goodwill. I first met Karen seven years ago when I started working at CP Westchester. At the time, because of her cerebral palsy, she was unable to stand or walk and could not safely perform the stand-pivot transfer necessary for using a toilet. So even though she could communicate her need to use the bathroom she remained in pull-ups. She was unhappy and so was I.
The first breakthrough came with the Rifton SoloLift, a unique transfer device which although large, allowed Karen to safely use the toilet. But in 2012, when the Rifton TRAM debuted, we knew we had an even better solution. Karen tried it and loved it. It was a perfect match for her size and shape. The body support system and leg straps made it simple and easy to adjust and position Karen for the wheelchair to toilet transfer. Plus the TRAM works well in smaller spaces.
Now when she requests to use the toilet the TRAM is part of her routine. She transfers into the device in the bathroom common area and then moves into the bathroom cubicle to adjust her clothing while the leg straps remain in place. Once she is on the toilet we can leave the cubicle to give her dignity and privacy. She is perfectly safe in the TRAM. Afterwards, we readjust the clothing and while Karen is still buckled in the TRAM, transfer her back to the wheelchair. It’s really so simple. And Karen couldn’t be happier with the change this has brought to her life.
Karen’s mom wants one for the home too as it is much easier to use than the device they currently have. She was teasing us the other day that she wants to steal our TRAM. I tell our staff to keep an eye on it, it might disappear—it’s that good!
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