Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Essex Swimming Centre Supports Accessible Swimming

We all know that swimming provides a wealth of benefits for those with limited mobility, including keeping fit and making friends. It is an excellent way for disabled people or those with limited mobility to feel more integrated into the community and meet like-minded people whilst having some form of exercise to keep fit.

Swimming can also provide aquatic therapy for those who need rehabilitation or physiotherapy for their mobility. Runnymede Swimming Pool (part of Castle Point Leisure) in Essex, has seen the benefits a swimming pool hoist can bring, after recently having it installed.

According to Duty Manager Lee Payne, the hoist (funded by Short Breaks) from mobility experts Dolphin Mobility, has helped make swimming available to those who would not otherwise have the opportunity: “The pool hoist has been vital to a group of our members who are now able to take part and integrate themselves into the community more, rather than becoming socially isolated, by taking part in swimming-related activities.”

The centre hosts a number of members with moderate to severe disabilities who come in to use the facilities with their carer, and the pool hoist has been invaluable. “We have people coming in to use the hoist from different areas and we have found it to be incredibly reliable and very easy to operate, making our lives a lot easier. We would highly recommend having a pool hoist to other centres as it gives disabled people the opportunity to be more involved, get some form of exercise, and helps centres to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act by making them equally accessible to disabled and able bodied people. We are grateful to Short Breaks for their help with funding the hoist.”

Pool lifts are a great solution for making swimming pools disabled-friendly and encouraging more disabled and older people to turn to swimming as an extracurricular activity, enabling them to keep fit and have fun. They can be used in hotels, leisure centres, holiday resorts, schools, colleges and universities – anywhere there is a swimming pool. Christian Dunnage, a Director at Dolphin Mobility, said: “We are delighted with Lee’s positive feedback.

Hoisting Your Way to Independence

Over recent years mobile and tracked hoists have become more and more commonplace in hospitals, care homes and other care related facilities. However, in conjunction with Occupational Therapists, Dolphin Mobility is leading the way in taking this technology to a much wider audience.

Trampolining and rebound therapy has long been recognised as playing a vital role in the ongoing treatment and rehabilitation of people with varying levels of disability, but this can often cause a manual handling issue. Basingstoke Gymnastics Club is a great example of a location that has benefitted from working with Dolphin Mobility on a hoisting solution for its disabled members as Alexandria Campbell, Head of Disabilities at the Club, explains: “We have around 70 adults on the register at Basingstoke Gymnastics Club with varying levels of disabilities, from mild to profound, many of whom use our trampoline. We also have a huge cross section of children, and the hoist has been vital in getting them onto the trampoline – something which most of them are unable to do outside of the Club.”

Basingstoke Gymnastics Club - Trampoline Hoist

Jade is one such example. The 19-year-old has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, which has caused severe learning and physical disabilities, along with partial sight. Jade uses the hoist to access the, and according to Alexandra, it has helped tremendously with her movement skills: “Jade absolutely loves the trampoline as it gives her some freedom, sensation and feeling back in her muscles,” commented Alexandra. “She is unable to walk so the trampolining sessions have enabled her to have fun and be free as possible, stretching out all her muscles and get the feeling back in them. She has also met new people who she interacts with, which is excellent for her confidence and social skills.

 “Coming here once or twice a week gives users a new found independence, which they often cannot experience at home due to their levels of disability. We also use the hoist to lift members out of their wheelchairs and be placed on matting for additional therapy sessions. At 19, Jade is our youngest member – we also have people in their 40s and 50s using the hoist, which shows that people of all ages can benefit this type of equipment and exercise. They all love it!”

Craig Dunnage of Dolphin Mobility explains that the hoist in question, the Handimove Victor hoist, is the most suitable hoist for use with trampolines and is highly favoured for rebound therapy: “It will comfortably lift a user from the ground onto a 1.1 metre high trampoline, and unlike many other hoists, will get the user onto the main bed of the trampoline. Because of its size and robust design, it is easy to push and will lift up to 225kg (35 stone) comfortably.”

From a domestic perspective, Jason Miller, from Cambridgeshire, has seen the difference a tracked ceiling hoist has made after having one installed above his swimming pool and hot tub.

Jason, 44, was left paralysed from the chest down after being knocked off his bike while on holiday in Portugal in 2012. Following initial treatment in Lisbon, Jason returned to England to receive further treatment. “It was while I was undergoing hydrotherapy that I realised how important it would be for me to continue this in my own pool when I returned home,” explained Jason.

Jason Miller with his body support pool access system

Jason realised he would require assistance getting in and out of the pool, and started researching hoist manufacturers: “I wanted a hoist that would not only be safe and comfortable, but also unobtrusive as there was limited poolside space,” he said.

The hoist Jason opted for was the HandiMove HM2500 LRC ceiling hoist, a model with infrared hand controls and an electrolytically polished body support to enable self-hoisting, which allows the user to transfer safely and independently from bed to wheelchair, toilet, bath or in Jason’s case, into his swimming pool. Jason’s version of the model also features a membrane panel and has had a PCB treatment applied, for use in environments where water is present. The hoist is ergonomically designed without any loss of space, making it ideal for smaller areas or for domestic use. Jason added: “The hoist has made a real difference to my day to day life as swimming and hydrotherapy sessions play a vital role in my ongoing treatment plan. From a personal point of view having the ability to hoist myself in and out of the water independently is just fantastic."

Jason Miller self hoists using the body support system in order to access his swimming pool and hot tub

“When speaking to clients, we always discuss all the equipment and hoisting options available as self hoisting may not be suited to everyone. We are always on hand to discuss the ease with which self-hoisting can be incorporated as part of a more independent lifestyle, even if it is with the partial aid of a family member or carer. With the latest technological advances, there is always a solution and it is our aim and the ethos of Dolphin Mobility, to ensure we leave every client with as high a level of independence and comfort as possible” explained Craig.

The Body Support is ideal for people who wish to self hoist safely.

Linda Dowdeswell is a great example of someone who is using the latest hoisting technology to self hoist throughout the home. Linda was diagnosed with a cluster of tumours on her spine whilst pregnant with her daughter in 1981. “As my condition has deteriorated we have carried out various adaptations to our home, from widening doorways to converting rooms and installing equipment,” she said. Despite her restricted mobility, Linda is one of a growing number of people who can ‘self hoist’ due to the latest advances in hoisting equipment - this means she can get herself in and out of bed, bathed and dressed independently. These daily activities would be impossible without the Handimove ceiling track hoist with body support system.

Over the last 25 years, Dolphin Mobility has firmly established itself as a leading independent supplier of hoists and stairlifts in the UK. There are now 19 independently owned and operated Dolphin branches covering the UK and Ireland and most are family businesses, helping to add the personal touch so often missing from larger companies. Dolphin Mobility prides itself on being independent and represents many of the leading mobility and access equipment manufacturers including Stannah, Meditek, Handimove and Thyssen. However, as it is not aligned with one individual supplier, the company is in the unique position of being able to offer customers completely independent and impartial advice and quotations. For more information and to find your nearest Dolphin Mobility branch visit or call 01276 856060.