After a straightforward pregnancy, in June 2013 Joe Chant was born, weighing 5lb 5oz. Shortly after Joe’s birth, his family found out that he had a serious brain injury. Unbeknown to anyone, Joe had suffered a massive stroke in the last 12 weeks of the pregnancy and was lucky to have survived. As a result of the stroke, Joe has complex needs including epilepsy, severe visual impairment, cerebral palsy and severe learning difficulties.
To ensure that Joe can be cared for at home safely, with respect and with ample space for him and his equipment, in 2014 Joe’s family made the decision to embark upon a conversion project, which would transform their home into an ideal living environment for their son. After the lengthy and involved process of obtaining a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG), Joe’s parents realised that to safeguard Joe’s care and the family’s quality of life, they would have to significantly supplement the grant. At this point, Rachael Joe’s mum, began working with Sullivan’s Heroes, the only charity in the UK to provide support for families who need to adapt their homes to meet the needs of a disabled child. Said Rachael: “We were thinking of Joe’s future. We want him to have dignity and his own space.” Ultimately, Rachael’s tenacious fundraising raised over £23,000 to supplement the DFG and ensured that the adaptation of the family home could be completed without compromise and with longevity at the heart of the design.
The idea of converting the garage into a customized sleeping and washing space for Joe began in 2014. After struggling to carry Joe up and down stairs and the increasing difficulties of washing him and carrying him to and from the traditional bathroom, Joe’s family were keen to provide somewhere which would be safe and appropriate to wash him both now and, in the future, as he gets older and heavier. Key priorities for Joe’s washing facilities included hoisting in the ceiling, safe and spacious access for Joe and his parents/ carers, space for Joe to enter the room in his wheelchair, room to store Joe’s showering equipment and a private toileting area for Joe to use as he gets older.
Joe’s Wetroom Solution
As a key part of the accessible home conversion for Joe, a level access wetroom was created using an Impey EasyFit wetroom floor former, Impey’s WaterGuard waterproofing system and AquaMat underfloor heating. Impey’s WaterGuard waterproofing system offers fast-fit and simple installation, which was imperative to ensure that Joe’s wetroom was ready for use as soon as possible. The system comes with a leak-free guarantee, which offered peace of mind to the Chant family as part of a long-term solution for Joe’s wellbeing. The EasyFit wetroom floor former enables the fast and effective creation of a wetroom floor in any kind of scenario, including on ground floor or upper floors. The EasyFit incorporates four gradient planes to quickly and efficiently drain away waste water and is extremely strong and durable. Ideal to ensure safety and security for Joe and his carer when he’s in the shower; with a unique cellular structure the EasyFit requires no time consuming under boarding and can easily withstand loads of up to 300KG (47 stones). The Impey AquaMat underfloor heating system was installed to maintain a consistent and comfortable temperature and ensure that the wetroom dries thoroughly between each use. Housed in the garage conversion, with a skylight for ventilation, it’s important to keep Joe’s wetroom warm and dry, to inhibit the possibility of damp or mould growth; and AquaMat is an ideal underfloor heating solution for wetrooms of all shapes and sizes. In addition, AquaMat is economical to run and comes with a 12-year warranty.
“Impey’s range of accessible products is designed with the user and carer in mind. Our R&D team works with industry professionals, OTs, users and carers to gain valuable insights into the functionality of products in situ and cement a deeper understanding of the requirements of our healthcare range and the benefits it can offer.” James Walker, Southern Regional Sales Manager.
Using Joe’s Wetroom
Joe and the Chant family couldn’t be happier with Joe’s accessible wetroom and bedroom conversion explained his mum Rachael: “Joe really enjoys having a shower now. He loves being hoisted and lying on his shower stretcher. “He loves music; so now we put on music while he showers, and he lies on his waterproof pillow, singing along; it makes him very happy. It’s easy access and there’s enough space for Joe’s wheelchair and a carer to move around safely. “The wetroom has had a brilliantly positive effect on family life. It’s now safe for one adult to wash Joe and there’s no more uncomfortable and undignified lifting.”
“The wetroom has had a brilliantly positive effect on family life. It’s now safe for one adult to wash Joe and there’s no more uncomfortable and undignified lifting. Joe really enjoys having a shower now.” Rachael Chant, Joe’s Mum