Description

Disabled, and especially people with wheelchairs has the need for special environment in their bathrooms. Many different solutions exist to make bathing even possible or any easier for those people. There is a strong need from the target group that they should not always have the feeling that they are relied on someone all the time. Intimacy, and the feeling of autonomy is very important for them. The common bathtub is a difficult place to be reached by wheelchair people alone. There was an explicit wish for a system to be designed for this purpose.

Solution

A system was designed which makes people able to lift themselves from the wheelchair to the bathtub, and vice versa. The system is fully mechanic, only operated by the subject. The system consists of a rail mounted on the ceiling, a cart moving on the rail, a subsystem of ratchet pulley rows with lines, and a suspension frame with cradle and support-type cushioned belts. The operation order is that first the wheelchair person leads one end of the cradle belt underneath the body in the wheelchair. The body should be against the support belt. The user starts to pull one line, so that it will lift him up from the chair. The other line enables the user to move the cart on the rail and by this moving himself above the bathing tub. Then changing the ratchet direction he will be able to slowly release himself to the bathtub. The operation is the other way round to sit back to the wheelchair. The key element in making the possibility of manual/mechanical operation is the three-row ball-bearing ratchet pulley system, which gives a 1:8 slowing ratio to the line system, meanwhile the forces in the line sides are also reduced to 1:8. The ratchet and the additional ball bearing cleat ensures the safe operation. The belts are connected to the bent metal frame with carabineers, which is a safe and easy to operate solution. Since electricity is excluded, the system is not only simpler and cheaper, but electric malfunction or the risk of shock in humid environment are also reduced to zero.

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