By Barbara & Jim Twardowski
One of the most important rooms in the house is the bathroom. The workhorse is, of course, the toilet. When sitting on or rising from a standard toilet becomes difficult, the Power Toilet Aid (PTA) provides assistance with the push of a button. The PTA is also beneficial for wheelchair users, who need a taller toilet seat to enable an easier transfer.
Adaptive Toilet Trials…and Errors
After purchasing a new power wheelchair and seat cushion, I encountered a major problem. The height discrepancy between my wheelchair and the toilet made transferring impossible. I have a neuromuscular disease that causes atrophy and weakens the muscles of my arms and legs.
On the recommendation of my medical supply vendor, I bought a raised toilet seat to rectify the problem. The plastic seat simply snapped on top of my existing toilet. And, the second time I used it—the raised seat snapped right off. No one's throne should wobble!
Next, I was advised to buy an all-in-one bedside commode. This equipment comes with a toilet seat and is positioned over an existing toilet. The legs adjust to place the user at a higher level than a conventional toilet, plus arms on each side aid standing. Attaching this new equipment, which weighed only 12 pounds, took a few minutes. Perhaps if I were a smaller person or more agile, this piece of medical equipment would have worked. The bedside commode constantly wiggled resulting in multiple messy mishaps.
Power Toilet Aid Solves Transfer and Positioning Challenges
Finally, I spoke to an occupational therapist, who told me the Power Toilet Aid (PTA) by Stand Aid of Iowa has worked well for some of her clients. I reviewed the company's information online and watched the video demonstration:
The device mechanically lowers and raises a toilet seat up to 13" above an existing toilet. The movement is a straight up and down vertical motion—unlike some other products that are angled and can push a weak person off the seat.
I contacted Stand Aid of Iowa to discuss my particular needs. They explained the PTA is available in two models. The Standard Model weighs 70 lb. and uses an existing toilet seat. The Mobile Model weighs 90 lb. and comes with four locking canister wheels, a toilet seat, and an optional waste container, which allows this model to be used as a bedside commode. Both models are made of steel and lift up to 400 lb.
Installation of the PTA is fairly simple and the only tools required are a screw driver and a pair of pliers. The PTA runs off a 12 volt rechargeable battery. You can either charge the eight pound battery every three days or keep it plugged into an outlet. The battery takes 60 to 90 minutes to completely charge and will typically run for three to five days—a handy feature if the electricity goes out.
My medical insurance does not cover the cost of this equipment nor does Medicare or Medicaid.
The Standard Model PTA costs $1,800 and the Mobile Model PTA is $2,100. The unit is shipped by UPS for an $80 additional fee and usually takes two weeks to arrive. There is a 30-day money back guarantee and the customer pays return shipping charges.
I ordered the Standard PTA and my husband installed it in about an hour. The PTA enables me to position the toilet height to the most comfortable position and easily adjust the height whenever I use a different cushion on my wheelchair. Maintaining my independence is important and the PTA was the perfect solution to my dilemma.
Stand Aid of Iowa has been making the PTA for more than 20 years. The product comes with a one year warranty and 90 days on the battery. For more information, call (800) 831-8580 or visit www.stand-aid.com.
About the Author:
Barbara and Jim Twardowski are freelance writers specializing in disability and travel topics. Their articles can be seen in AAA Home & Away, Global Traveler, Quest and many other outlets.
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