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Technology and health care for the elderly medical research studies

Focus on strategic priorities that have significant social impact.

HTIG 2014-07

An innovation for relocating a toilet to ease access for the frail elderly at home

The scope of this project was to investigate the feasibility of a device that allows for a toilet to be relocated within the bathroom by determining constraints for such a device and developing a working prototype.

Research Results

FindingsResults indicated that this product concept can create more space next to the toilet for a caregiver to stand and help with toileting activities without having to adopt extreme postures. Clinicians were very positive about the potential of the device and believe the Toilocator will be an excellent economical alternative to a costly bathroom renovation.

Impact of findings: One real estate accessibility expert noted that this could be a game-changer for condominiums. Although more work is needed, the finding of this work indicate that an adapter to raise and shift the location of the toilet would be a very useful product for many frail older adults who require support for toileting activities.

About the Project

The ability to get on and off the toilet can mean the difference between living at home and having to move into long-term care for frail older adults. Osteoarthritis, affecting over 7 million people in the US and Canada, is very common in those who are frail, making it difficult for them to use a standard-height toilet.

In addition, bathrooms do not typically provide extra space around a toilet to allow caregivers to position themselves to assist safely or to allow for wheelchair or walker users to transfer onto the toilet while maintaining support of their assistive devices. This is why we proposed to develop a device which would allow the toilet to be repositioned in the bathroom to make it more accessible, in addition to raising the height of the toilet. In its new position, there is enough space beside the toilet for a caregiver to stand and help with toileting activities without having to adopt extreme postures.

This innovative toileting product supports the frail elderly and their caregivers at home and helps to optimize their care. The toilet relocating device makes even temporary installation and removal possible without any damage to the bathroom.

Project Team

Principal Investigators:

Tilak Dutta, PhD, PEng -- Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network

Geoff Fernie, PhD, PEng -- Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network

Co-Investigator:

Richard Birtwhistle, MD, MSc, CCFP, FCFP -- Queen's University

Project Contact: Tilak Dutta -- tilak.dutta@uhn.ca

HTIG 2014-07