New products and new technologies are helping older adults maintain their independence and stay in their own homes. Such devices can assist older adults to be more active while in bed and more mobile and selfsufficient in activities of daily living; some can facilitate in-home monitoring of cardiac status. The products are practical and innovative, and designed with the older person in mind.
Gerontological nurses are urged to contact the manufacturers of these products for brochures and information they can share with their clients /families. The nurse is an excellent resource for helping older adults make safe, cost-effective choices about products that will enhance their quality of life.
Dolores M. Alford, PhD, RN, FAAN
Gerontic Nursing Consultant
User Panel Provides Independence for People With Special Needs
Honeywell Inc.'s new user panel is designed for use with its TotalHome automation system, which provides safety, comfort, and convenience. The interface allows people with physical challenges due to aging or a physical disability - such as reduced mobility, vision, hearing, or manual strength and dexterity - to maintain independence in their own homes.
The new keypad features keys with high visual contrast, large graphics, raised lettering, and audible and visual user feedback. The keypad operates the Honeywell TotalHome system. The system integrates temperature, security, lighting, and appliances into a single, easy-to-operate wall panel that can be mounted anywhere. Multiple user panels can be installed throughout the home for convenient access.
A Honeywell technician installs and programs the system. Homeowners can select from up to 15 "modes" that control different household functions. For example, a typical mode called "Good Night" can be programmed to turn off all inside lights, arm the security system, and lower the thermostat for comfortable sleeping. The TotalHome system is monitored 24 hours a day by a Honeywell U.L.-approved customer service center. A special emergency button for medical assistance is built into each panel; portable emergency buttons are also available. In addition, the system can be operated remotely or in the home using a touch-tone phone.
For more information, contact Marie Overfors, Honeywell Inc., Home and Building Control, 1985 Douglas Drive North, Golden Valley, MN 55422; 612-954-4595.
Portable Exerciser Designed for Bedridden Patients
The Comprimo AirHex portable exerciser, available from the Tyler- Wood Company, Inc., allows bedridden patients to exercise effectively during their convalescence without the hands-on aid of a therapist.
The AirFlex resistance exercise retards the degeneration of muscle mass, aids in the development of muscle tone, and helps to increase blood circulation. The exerciser also helps maintain lung capacity; prevent infection, muscular atrophy, thrombosis, and gastrointestinal problems; and recover from surgery, rehabilitation, and lack of movement due to bed confinement. The patient can set the desired resistance by adjusting two graduated control knobs. The support rod is made of extruded aluminum for maximum strength.
The AirFlex is easy to install and remove from any footboard without the use of tools. The patient can use the exerciser with rninimal supervision, saving labor and time for the physiotherapist and health care facility.
For more information, contact the Tyler- Wood Company, Inc., Department 22, 903 Wedel Lane, Glenview, IL 60025; 800752-6900.
Portable Cardiac Event Recorder Captures and Stores Patient ECG
The HeartWatch Cardiac Event Recorder from Instromedix Inc., incorporates the latest in cardiac event monitoring technology and also doubles as a digital wristwatch; it can be worn for days, weeks, or months.
Whenever and wherever symptoms occur, the patient can press a button and rest a hand on the HeartWatch recorder. The device captures and stores a 30sec Lead 1 ECG. Then, at the patient's convenience, the ECG can be transmitted over the phone from any place in the world to a hospital or doctor's office. Using the HeartWatch monitor, even elusive symptoms can be successfully documented.
For more information, contact Gregg Semler, President/CEO, Instrumedix, Inc., 7431 Northeast Evergreen Parkway, Hillsboro, OR 97124-5898; 800-6333361.
Swanstone Offers Solid-Surface, Barrier-Free Shower Ovide
A 4-page color guide, available from Swanstone, details the company's solid surface barrier free shower, shower floor, and ramp, which are designed to meet the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Information in the guide includes color photos, a rough-in dimension chart, a color selection chart showing 15 color and aggregatelook options, a review of installation options, special features of solid surface material, and information about the shower floor ramp and removable threshold. Three shower wall panel options are shown that include Swanstone, fiberglass SwanTile, and high-gloss fiberglass panels.
For more information, contact Swanstone, Department 223, The Swan Corporation, One City Centre, St Louis, MO 63101; 314231-8148.
Directory Features Disability Products and Servîtes tor Daily Living
People with disabilities - and medical professionals who serve them - can now locate products and services designed to make life easier in The Hlustrated Directory of Disability Products.
The third edition of the Illustrated Directory is a 234-page buying guide featuring approximately 750 photos and descriptions of disability products designed to aid the physically disabled. The products range from conventional mobility products and daily living devices to space-age wheelchairs that climb stairs and canes that use laser beams to detect obstacles. The product listings are organized into 21 categories for ease of use. Each product has a photograph and a 50- to 75- word caption describing its features. Manufacturer's addresses and phone numbers are included at the end of each description.
Businesses, as well as companies needing to update their facilities to accommodate those with disabilities, will find the directory useful.
For more information, contact Bonnie Ficek, The Illustrated Directory of Disability Products, 3600 W. Timber Court, Lawrence, KS 66049; 913-749-1453. Or send $19.95 ($12.95 for disabled individuals) plus $3.00 shipping, with name and address to Trio Publications, at the same address.
Clinical Recliners Ease Patient Care in the Home or Institution
The Comfort + Plus Deluxe and Clinical Recliners, available from Invacare Corporation, are designed for home use during a variety of activities including transport, eating, sleeping, sitting, and therapy.
The Model 6903 MultiPosition Rechner with Position Lock easily articulates to four positions, from upright to full recline. Position change can alter pressure points to help prevent decubitus ulcers, provide relief for postural or back ailments, and ease nausea associated with chemotherapy. The easy-to-grip design supports patients during entry and egress.
Other features include a vinyl bumper that protects armrests and walls; builtin side bolsters that gently position the occupant correctly in the chair; a selfstoring, overlap tray that folds out of the way when not in use; and a position lock bar that secures the recliner in any of the four positions.
The Model 6902 Clinical Rechner is a versatile recliner that can be used throughout hospitals and alternate site facilities. Its multiple positions facilitate treatment, therapy, and procedures requirements. The recliner is especially suited for dialysis, blood collection, same day surgery, ECG /EKG, oncology, and extended care. The seat and back are supported for maximum patient comfort. A counterbalanced recline mechanism permits controlled articulation of recline with minimum effort by the user or staff. The cost of the recliner is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most insurance plans when used as a component of a prescribed treatment plan.
For more information, contact Invacare Corporation, 899 Cleveland St., Elyria, OH 44036; 800-333-6900.
Maddak Two-Handed Cup Facilitates Easier Handling of Liquids
The Arthro Thumbs-Up Cup is a functional, lightweight cup specifically designed for those who have a decreased grip strength, wrist pain, hand deformities, and /or the need to keep the wrist in a neutral position.
Available from Maddak, Inc., the Thumbs-Up Cup has a unique ergonomie design consisting of two handles with thumb rests placed at 60 degrees from the vertical. This placement increases leverage of the hand, steadies the cup to minimize the effect of trembling and aids in raising the cup to the lips without wrist motion.
The cup is doublewalled, which keeps sensitive hands away from extreme heat or cold. It holds 8 oz and leaves 1 in of space free above the liquid to reduce spillage. Liquid ounce and metric measures are on the inside surface to provide consistent intake measurements when needed. In addition, the cup is top rack dishwasher safe.
For more information, contact Brigid deLime, Maddak, Inc., Pequannock, NJ 07440-1993; 201-628-7600, ext. 3251.
Walker Basket Attachment Carries Small Items for Easy Transport
Maddak Inc.'s Economy Walker Basket is ideal for carrying papers, magazines, knitting, and other small items. Constructed of welded wire with a soft plastisol coating, the basket can easily be mounted on the front bar of most walkers. The basket measures 51/2 x 16 ? 7 in. A plastic tray fits into the bottom of the basket to carry coins, pens, or small hardware. The tray also has a molded cup holder for a glass or soft drink can.
The Economy Walker Basket is available in two configurations; the first has four adjustable ring clamps for attaching the basket to the walker, and the second uses strips of hookand-loop closures for attachment to the walker.
For more information, contact Brigid deLime, Maddak Inc., Pequannock, NJ 07440-1993; 201-628-7600.
Elevated Toilet Seat Helps Seniors to Sit and Raise Themselves
Maddak, Inc., offers 12 different elevated toilet seats designed to meet the specific needs of seniors and anyone needing extra assistance in the bathroom.
The Model 72588-1000 Tall-ette Elevated Toilet Seat is a patented product designed for the average to tall individual of average to heavy build. The features include a tubular toilet frame with an extrawide elevated toilet seat for people who have problems sitting down and raising themselves. The addition of the frame helps with these problems.
The Tall-ette Elevated Toilet seat incorporates the added features of the Madda-comfort foam arm handles and the slip-in LOK-IN-EL bracket for easy attachment and removal from nearly all standard toilet seats. The easy cleaning, front cutaway, contour molded design increases the height of the standard seat by an additional 4 in. These features make the Tall-ette Elevated Toilet seat a good choice for anyone requiring extra assistance in the bathroom.
For more information, contact Brigid deLime, Maddak, Inc., Pequannock, NJ 07440-1993; 201-628-7600, ext. 3251.