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Case study: how carers can bathe a man who was previously afraid of water


Staff at a Yorkshire assisted living complex can deliver dignified, safe, supported personal hygiene to a man with dementia via the Aqua Liberty bathing support system.

The gentleman lives in supported accommodation and receives 24 hr care.

He has recently been diagnosed with dementia and has complex mental and physical disabilities.

He is non-verbal and is hoisted for all transfers. He has high muscle tone in his arms and legs which mean he benefits from being immersed in water.

He previously enjoyed baths when he lived at home, and this is something his family told the care team that he loved.

Since moving into supported accommodation and being diagnosed with dementia, staff had been unable to support him to shower as he became distressed when the water hit his body. He would hit out at the people supporting him.

When staff tried to lower him into the bath via the ceiling track hoist, as soon as his body contacted the water, he was becoming distressed.

The solution has been strip washing daily on the bed- distressing for the man due to the number of movements required whilst he was lying on the bed.

The Occupational Therapist involved in the man’s case, Julie Snowden from Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, felt that there were some issues with proprioception and him feeling unsafe and disorientated when he didn’t know where his body was in space.

He also needed postural support as his core stability was poor, and benefited greatly from the feeling of being safe and ‘cocooned’.

Julie suggested trying AAT’s Aqua Liberty vacuum posture support system, hoisting him slowly into the bath with the bath cushion already in place.

how it works:

Aqua Liberty is the only vacuum support cushion system that fits any bath and any user.

It is also unique in being developed in the UK in partnership with individuals with a disability and Occupational Therapists.

The lightweight adjustable system comprises a central, flexible backpiece that fits any bath. It is quick and easy to secure into position, and to remove.

Any of a range of “mix and match” vacuum posture cushions is then easily attached to the backpiece, to provide infinitely remouldable, adjustable pressure-free support for the bather. 

In this case, a Comfortable Plus cushions was used. Combining a corset and and seat in one, the Comfortable Plus Duo delivers correct torso and pelvis positioning, stabilising him vertically and laterally, holding him in place without pressure.

By making use of vacuum technology, the infinitely variable cushion can be precisely moulded, shaped by carers to deliver optimal comfort as needed, without pressure points.

a positive outcome:

“Although he initially became slightly worried, once his body came into contact with the bath cushion and he was sitting in it, he became visibly relaxed. Staff were able to support him to bathe for the first time! Bathing with the Aqua Liberty is now an essential part of his routine; a bath helps him to relax, reduces muscle tone, aids digestion and is something he now thoroughly enjoys.”

Occupational Therapist Julie Snowden

find out more:

To find out more about the Aqua Liberty system, including booking of free no obligation assessments, visit There, you can also arrange a free trial of the system, and ask any questions via LiveChat.

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