Pool Disabled Access Hoist Case Study

The Police Rehabilitation Centre, Flint House, is reaping the benefits of a pool lift from Dolphin Mobility at its base in Goring, Oxfordshire. The organisation, established in the 1890s by Catherine Gurney of the Gurney banking family, is a charity funded by local authorities, fundraising events and the police officers who use the facilities.

The centre is a residential unit, housing 158 rooms and servicing officers from 29 different forces from the Derbyshire and Staffordshire border, down to Cornwall, Wales and Essex. Just last year, the centre saw 3,832 officers pass through its doors, making it one of the biggest rehabilitation centres of its kind. Its biggest contributors are the London Metropolitan Police and Thames Valley Police, who regularly recommend the centre to its officers.

Pool Access Lift Eliminates Manual Handling Issues

The pool lift was installed in 2012, and according to Senior Physiotherapist and Deputy Chief Executive Officer, David Flint, has been a hit with both the residents and staff members at the centre.

David had this to say “We were previously using a manual lift which involved pumping the lift up and down with the patient in it – it was incredibly laborious for the Physiotherapists and Physiotherapy Assistants. The lift was also 25 years old (the same age as the building) and so had seen a great deal of use over the years! The Dolphin pool lift has been absolutely marvellous and we are very pleased with our decision to have it installed. It is motorised, so has none of the manual handling issues as the previous one, and both staff and patients find it simple to use.”

Splash Extended Reach Pool Lift

Christian Dunnage, a Director of Dolphin Mobility, said: “One of the most common problems encountered when specifying a suitable pool lift for a client is the presence of a large drainage channel or gutter. If the gutter finishes more than 400 mm from poolside this may cause complications if you wish to install a conventional deck mounted pool lift. This was the scenario confronting the Police Rehabilitation Centre at Flint House when they contacted us; their choices were limited to a portable unit which could sit on top of the grate when in use, or a fixed unit with a long enough reach to span the gutter. An additional requirement for the person using the lift to be able to operate it independently (if appropriate) was also a priority.”

Taking all of the Centre’s needs into consideration, the most suitable lift was found to be the Splash Extended Reach lift. The Splash has a battery powered motor which enables the chair to rise, lower and swivel with the use of the handset and extended arms which are capable of spanning the gutter. Flint House also chose to purchase a stability vest to help patients with limited upper body or trunk stability.

Rehabilitation Aided by Swimming and Exercise

According to David, the centre aims to get serving officers back into duty through regular physiotherapy sessions and exercises such as swimming: “Our remit is to get serving officers back into work as soon as possible using a variety of physiotherapy exercises and group therapy sessions (up to 17 on a daily basis). Initially, patients are assessed by one of our 16 physiotherapists to decide the best course of action for their injury or condition, after which they go through a week or two weeks of intensive physiotherapy, set classes, appropriate gym exercises, and relevant group therapy sessions which include upper and lower limb strengthening and Pilates.”

“The officers are also given a personalised exercise programme, for which they are responsible, and education sessions teaching them about the anatomy of the spine (when relevant), their particular condition and what they can do to treat it themselves once the rehabilitation programme is complete, closely following the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines.”

Choosing Dolphin to install your Pool Lift

Swimming is a big part of the therapy, where of course the pool lift has proven to be invaluable. David commented: “Dolphin’s reputation precedes it; the team there is well known and they are incredibly helpful to deal with, and the quality of products and service is extremely high. The Dolphin technicians were extremely knowledgeable about the product and I was advised well on things like the exact placement of the lift. The whole process was made very easy for us from start to finish and the after sales service along with the customer service has been brilliant; I would recommend them to anyone in a similar position to us who require a pool lift.”

Both serving and retired police officers can receive rehabilitation at Flint House, providing they are medically stable and have been referred by their GP, a consultant or a force medical officer for an appropriate clinical reason. Around 90 per cent of their officers are admitted with musculoskeletal conditions and around 9 per cent who have neurological conditions such as post-head injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s. Serving officers usually stay for a minimum of two weeks per year per condition, and retired officers, one week. This period can be extended depending on the condition.

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