Upgrading Your Bathroom for ALS Care (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)

Bathroom Upgrades for Lou Gehrig's Disease

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When it comes to dealing with ALS, the bathroom is often an area of struggle.  There are many reasons for this, from getting up and down off the toilet, to stimulating a bowel movement, to getting clean after a bowel movement is complete.  Many times, not only does the process of using the restroom wear on the caregiver, it is also stressful for the person with ALS, and the loss of privacy only adds to the frustration.

 

When it comes to resolving these issues the use of a bidet seat can go a long way.  Below we will talk about things to consider when getting a bidet seat for someone suffering from ALS.

Toilet Safety

When it comes to using the toilet, doing so safely is key, but not always easy.  Fortunately there are risers and arms that work very well with bidet seats.  Depending on how near walls are to the toilet, grab bars are also worth considering.  These safety measures help to decrease the distance one needs to move to use the restroom, and allows for extra stability as the transfer is being made.  Not only this, but while seated on the toilet, these arms can help with balance.

 

bio-bidet-bb-2000-nozzle.jpgBowel Control

When dealing with loss of muscle control, it's not uncommon to see issues with bowel control.  This might mean constipation, or long periods of time without a bowel movement.  It might also mean bowel movements at unexpected times.  Fortunately bidet seats can help with all of these possibilities.

Stimulating A Bowel Movement

When it comes to getting a bowel movement started, a bidet seat offers a few different options, from enema to massage wash.  The enema function is one we find used frequently for constipation, but not as commonly used for ALS because of the power of the stream.  Massage wash on the other hand can be an excellent way to encourage a stubborn bowel movement.  The massage wash alternates between soft and hard streams to offer a massaging sensation, which is generally used to either help stimulate a bowel and/or provide comfort to a sensitive area.  When using the massage wash to help stimulate a bowel movement it's important to have the wash set to a warm setting.

Dealing With Lack of Bowel Control

The other side to this coin is accidental bowel movements.  Depends are an important, but cleaning up after an unexpected bowel movement is always challenging. Bidet seats can help with this as well, but picking a seat with high water flow is key.  We recommend the BB-1000 for these situations.  When cleaning up, you'll also want to consider running the oscillation option, which moves the nozzle back and forth for optimal surface coverage.

 

Cleaning Up After A Successful bowel Movement.

Most high end electric bidet seats on the market today not only offer water heaters, but also offer warm air dryers, completely eliminating the need for toilet paper.  These warm air dryers are not powerful enough to dry in under a minute or two, but many find that taking a minute or two to dry is worth the ability to remain completely independent in the bathroom for a longer time.

 

bb1000full500.jpgDealing With Limited Movement

As upper body movement lessens, a bidet seat can still be operated by remote control.  The key in a situation like this is purchasing a bidet seat with a large remote control, and mounting the remote control near the floor.  This allows the bidet seat to be controlled with a foot.  Remote controls allow bidet seats to be used even once ALS sets in to a point where limbs can barely move.  Bidet seat remotes rely on infrared signals.  Due to this, the remote does need to be operated from the bathroom, but installing it near the door allows it to be operated by the caretaker while still offering the one suffering with ALS some bathroom dignity.

 

Insurance

When it comes to bidet seats and ALS disease, every insurance claim is different.  As a general rule, we find that the best way to get insurance to cover a bidet seat purchase is to start with getting a perscription or script from a doctor.  This then needs to be taken to the insurance company.  Once they have OK'd the purchase, the insurance company needs to call us to finalize the transaction.  You'll want to start by talking to us, so we have the proper information when the insurance company reaches out.  Talking to us first also allows us to offer feedback on your particular needs, making it easier to get a script from a doctor.

 

In Summery

Bidet seats coupled with a riser and/or safety arms/rails can mean a huge improvement in quality of life for those suffering from ALS, as well as the caretaker.  If you're able to get insurance to cover the purchase, all the better.  On top of helping ensure bathroom dignity and self reliance as long as possible bidet seats also offer a level of hygiene unmatched by toilet paper.

Not sure if a bidet seat is right for you?  Not sure which one to choose?  Reach out, and we'll be more than happy to help!