Paul’s private bathroom sanctuary

By Therapy Focus

Toileting with ease and privacy is something many of us take for granted. For Paul, achieving independence in the bathroom has been a big goal.

Almost 13-year-old Paul lives with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, a build-up of fluid in the brain. As a result, Paul experiences a loss of bladder and bowel function which requires him to do a daily bowel wash out. Paul’s mum Shezanne often helps with the washout which can take upwards of 45 minutes to do but for a teenage boy, this is not ideal.

Paul’s journey started when he began working with a Therapy Focus Occupational Therapist (OT). This OT suggested to Paul and his family the idea of bathroom modifications to make Paul’s toileting needs easier. Shezanne explains her excitement at the suggestion,

“As parents of a child with disability, this was eye-opening as we thought we could continue to manage how we were doing things. Having [our OT] explain that this didn’t have to be the case was reassuring, that with the help of service providers like Therapy Focus you can improve your child’s quality of life in a way.”

Shezanne and Paul were linked in with Therapy Focus Project Officer Jenny Greensmith and Team Leader and Occupational Therapist Tiffany Colbran to get the modifications assessed, drafted and underway.

“Before the mods, Paul’s bathroom contained a bath, shower and vanity, with a separate toilet off the laundry. The shower was small and the hob was a trip hazard. We renovated the area and included the toilet within the bathroom along with the accessible shower and basin so Paul could complete all his self-care tasks in privacy, independently and safely. The new shower fittings and tapware, along with vinyl floor sheeting and wall tiling Paul and his family chose resulted in a beautiful bathroom that is both modern and functional” Jenny shared.

Two therapists, a young boy and a mother stand in a garden next to each other. They are smiling towards a camera.

Pictured: Tiffany Colbran (L), Shezanne, Paul and Jenny Greensmith (R)

“The whole process was quite inclusive all the way, although it did take some time and that was mainly due to the impact of COVID. We learnt that if you are proactive during the process (not just waiting for it to happen) then you feel more in control and up to date with it. Therapy Focus and Veejays Renovations were fantastic” Shezanne said.

Paul’s bathroom was completed in late 2021 and since then he has been loving the new space which has given him more independence and privacy which is important for a lot of teenagers.

“Overall, we could see on the first day Paul used his new bathroom after the modification that it was definitely worth it and has allowed him to have confidence with his self-care and is helping him become more independent with this.

Sometimes things don’t go as smoothly as they should be he can now manage to deal with the situation by himself. As the floor is vinyl and all “one piece” it is much easier to clean up any messes and therefore much easier to maintain hygiene and have a clean environment for him to do his medical/continence procedures in” Shezanne shared.

Home Modifications

As specialists in complex home modifications, we can help improve the safety, accessibility and comfort of your home.