Home Care Agencies & Self-Toileting Innovations: The PPAL™

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Peg Graham, MBA, MPH

The Graham family, in memory of their mom, is directly taking on the challenges of toileting care, hoping to enable more people aging/recovering at home to manage their own toileting needs.

They have designed the PPAL™, a revolutionary bedside commode that enables users to (1) adjust the height of the commode via a battery-powered internal lift; and (2) move along swivable transfer boards that remain in position as users shimmy along from bed/wheelchair to commode and back again.  With a hand-held controller, the height of the commode is adjusted so that users lower the commode when they want to get on, and raise the height when they want to get off.  These patented improvements allow someone with little/no leg strength to leverage “Gravity as a Friend” (that’s right, gravity makes the commode their ‘PPal’).”    View https://youtu.be/jEuylE7ynKU  to see a prototype demonstration.

Why are the Grahams taking on this challenge to improve toileting care options?  They know that each and every day, in patients’ homes throughout the U.S., direct care workers and family caregivers are assisting clients and loved ones with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs).  ADL assistance— helping someone get out of bed, toilet, bathe, dress, eat and just plain get about both inside and outside the home— often gets overlooked in discussions about healthcare innovation. Software applications and platforms don’t address these PHYSICAL DEMANDS.

This is especially true of toileting care, which is rarely discussed but is ever present in the caregiving experience.  Right now, too many patients have to wait for someone when they have “to go;” or they sit in an unchanged diaper for far too long.  Direct care workers and family caregivers deal with unpredictable, yet urgent, demands for assistance that sometimes receive a delayed response due to unforeseeable circumstances.  These strains remain hidden behind the “yuck” curtain that mutes serious discussions about human waste.

Unfortunately, the Grahams cannot make the PPAL™ available on their own.  They recognize that home medical equipment (HME) manufacturers appear to be more than happy to compete over products that already have market acceptance: go online to purchase a wheelchair, commode, bed or dozens of other common HME and you will soon be overwhelmed by the choices of supplier, model and provider.

But a jump from a $50 gray plastic bedside commode (where the design often requires assistance to be used) to a substantive self-toileting device that puts the patient in control?  HME companies will need to see evidence of demand.  That means that big, game-changing improvements like the PPAL™ require home health agencies to step up and voice their support!  

Be heard!  Like the Video on YouTube at https://youtu.be/jEuylE7ynKU, follow on twitter @The_PPAL, like the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ThePPAL or connect with Peg Graham on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/peggraham.


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