Ashlyns Care Home
Ashlyns Care home is part of the B&M Care Homes Group, catering for a wide range of age and physical impairments including some neuromuscular degenerative diseases. We have been classified as “good” by the CQC and have won various other externally judged awards for the standard of care we offer residents. Ashlyns Care Home is ideally situated in thirteen acres of parkland grounds on the historic Ashlyns Hall Estate in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire. The home boasts an award-winning single storey, purpose-built design, complimented by a courtyard-inspired outdoor living space. Ashlyns offers the following types of care for an older person: 24-hour long-term residential & specialist dementia care, as well as respite & convalescence care.
The Komodo Trial
Over a six week period in November and December 2019, we were asked to introduce a new and novel “assistive technology” into the day to day running of our busy, 58 place residential care home.
Komodo is primarily a battery powered shower chair and commode that offers a fully height adjustable seating position, with 30ᵒ backwards tilt to facilitate showering, and a 35ᵒ forwards tilt to assist standing for those residents capable of weight bearing.
Staff training on the technology was quick and easy to grasp. The hand controller was the main focus, as the Komodo offers a wide range of positions, and once achieved, could be programmed to return to that position with a one touch button press.
The battery has sufficient power to accommodate 30-40 resident uses per day, so in theory this would last us several days, but as a precautionary measure, we chose to charge a replacement battery overnight, and start each working day with a fresh battery charge. No problems were encountered with charging or in use battery life during the review period.
After several weeks of use, with various residents, it became apparent to us that the biggest factor of benefit to us when using the Komodo was in time savings. This was because the movement systems made it far easier to position any given resident in whatever position we needed to achieve for their comfort and for carer access. This included raising the chair higher to prevent the need for staff being bent over for extended periods of time during showering and cleaning.
The remarkable ease of manoeuvring the chair on its wheels whilst in shower was also a big improvement from our standard shower chair. We further observed that residents who had previously been agitated by the impending fuss and bother of the showering process, became sanguine because the Komodo removed the need for a significant amount of manual handling, including reducing the number of hoist interventions.
Savings and Smooth Transitions
This incredibly beneficial effect was achieved because the Komodo also acted as a transport system from bed to toilet to shower and back to bed. We were pleased to be able to offer more frequent showering to a range of residents who needed such assistance. We have not been able to monetise this time saving yet, but we feel it would be in the region of 15 % per showering and toileting event.
The Komodo is built from sturdy box section aluminium which gives a smooth transition along corridors, and over small door thresholds, which adds to the confidence our residents feel as they are pushed to and from the shower rooms, and we feel there is an improvement in dignity as the Komodo looks far more like a standard chair rather than a piece of assistive technology.
The castor design also has a positive effect in this transition period, as it makes the Komodo noticeably easier to push along the corridors, even with a combination of a small framed carer, and a larger resident. We understand from the manufacturer that in house measurements with a standard wheeled shower chair, on a smooth surface and a short pile carpet were between 25-50% less effort needed to push or pull the Komodo along.
Supporting Care Homes
This fits into our culture at B & M Group by trying to create the supportive culture needed to retain good caring staff, by giving them assistance to make the physical strain of their role as low as possible. Again, we are not able to quantify this reduction in lower back musculoskeletal effort, but we think it would be noticeable in the medium to long term. We understand from the manufacturers of Komodo that a formal study into this beneficial effect will be undertaken in 2020. Due to our basic building structure, including some narrow doorways into toilets, we chose to use the potty attachment for toileting, and found this easy to use. In a near term remodelling planned for this facility, bathroom & toilet dimensions are being revised upwards, and we note that Komodo is designed to fit over all modern toilet pans, including the wash / dry that are becoming increasingly popular.
Overall the Komodo has fitted into our desire to deliver high quality care to our residents, and to provide a reduction in muscular skeletal demands on our carers, and as time progresses, we feel sure we will develop new caring adaptations & techniques to enable us to benefit from this new technology. - Care Home Manager Ashlyns House