One of the common reasons people hire equipment from us at Direct Mobility Hire is following elective surgery, such as a total hip replacement or knee replacement. As the rehabilitation period is often short term, usually between 6-12 weeks, most people choose to hire the equipment rather than purchase.

We are often asked for advice as to what equipment may be useful to aid rehabilitation. Usually after a total hip replacement your doctor will issue precautions to follow. NHS choices (2015) advise that these can include; avoiding bending your hip more than 90° (a right angle), and avoiding low chairs and toilet seats. This often results in the need for equipment such as a raised toilet seat to ensure that the toilet is at the correct height. We suggest exploring the following areas to ensure that you are able to follow the precautions given;

TOILETING
Most standard toilet basins have a seat height of around 17”, which for most people is too low following a total hip replacement. There are a couple of options that can be used to raise the height. A raised toilet seat (RTS) can be fitted to the toilet to raise the height of the seat. They come in heights of 2”, 4” or 6”. They fit onto the porcelain of the toilet (with the seat and lid lifted) and can be easily removed for cleaning.

A raised toilet seat can be used in conjunction with a toilet surround; a lightweight frame which is placed around the toilet bowl to provide a support to push up from if required.

A toilet combination frame (sometimes called a mobray frame) is a lightweight frame with a seat attached. This is placed over the toilet bowl, with the seat and the lid raised, and provides additional seat height as well as a frame for support. The toilet combination frame is height adjustable so can be set to the correct height.

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BATHING & SHOWERING
A bath or shower board is often used to enable somebody to use an over-bath shower following elective surgery. The board fits width ways over the bath and rests on the lip either side. There is a minimum lip required of 25mm each side to ensure a secure fitting. Unfortunately a bath board is not suitable for corner baths.

A shower stool can be used if the user has a separate shower cubicle. They are available in a standard 4 legged version, or a 3 legged corner version. It is important to check that there is enough room to safely manoeuvre within the shower cubicle with the stool in situ, and ensure that it does not pose a trip hazard. They are height adjustable so can be set to the correct height for use.

A perching stool can be used when an individual chooses to have a hand wash at the basin. The perching stool has a sloping seat to allow the user to ‘perch’ and enables the user to sit close to the basin. They are height adjustable so can be set to the correct height for use.

A shower mat or bath mat is often used to prevent slipping when using the bath or shower. These items are for sale only, and can be viewed within the handheld items in our hire brochure or the website www.directmobility.co.uk.

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SEATING
It is important to have suitable seating within the home following a total hip replacement. If you already have a chair at home which is comfortable for use, ideally with 2 arms to ease your transfer, but the seat height is too low, then we can often use chair raisers to raise the seat height of the chair. We use various types of chair raisers, and can raise most armchairs and dining room type chairs.

If you do not have suitable seating at home, then a High seat armchair may be the solution for you. We provide 2 types; a height adjustable metal framed chair, or a fixed height wooden framed chair. The most common chair used after a total hip replacement is the metal framed chair, as it can be set at the correct height for use; however some individuals prefer the wooden framed chair as they find them more aesthetically pleasing. Both types of chairs are available with wings if required.

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SLEEPING
If your bed at home is not high enough for use then we can use bed raisers to increase the height for safe use. The bed raisers are available in various designs so we are able to fit them to most beds. Unfortunately we are unable to raise adjustable beds.

AROUND THE HOME
If using a walking frame to mobilise around the home, some people will struggle to carry items from one room to another. There are a couple of solutions to this issue;

A walking frame caddy can be attached to the existing walking frame to enable items to be transported. The caddy can only be used on a walking frame that has wheels on the front. These are sales items only and cannot be hired at this time.

A kitchen trolley can be used to transport items within or between rooms, and can be used as an alternative to a walking frame with caddy. It is important to remember that the walking frame has 4 wheels so could run away from you if used on a smooth floor surface.

A perching stool is commonly used within the kitchen to enable an individual to perch as required when completing tasks such as peeling vegetables, or washing up. They are height adjustable so can be set to the correct height for use.

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HAND HELD AIDS
Many of our customers find hand held items very useful following elective surgery. The most popular items are; a long handled shoe horn, a long handled bath sponge, an easy reacher and a sock aid. All of these items are available within our hip kits. These items are only available to purchase and details can be found within the hand held section of our hire brochure or on our website www.directmobility.co.uk

We always recommend that you seek advice from a healthcare professional following elective surgery to ensure that you choose the correct equipment. You can also email our in house occupational therapist for advice on OT@directmobility.co.uk.

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REFERENCES
NHS choices (2015) Hip replacement-recovery (online). Available from: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Hip-replacement/Pages/Recovery.aspx (accessed 29.07.2016)

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