The SWZ foundation is a Dutch institution that supports people with a range of disabilities and provides the framework for clients to learn, work and take their own part in society. SWZ Care offers care, support and treatment to people with complex needs across 12 locations in Holland.
This Q&A Session was conducted with Loes Willems, Care Manager at SWZ.
How did your clients initially react to the introduction of the Care Dryer?
When we first started with the dryer, the client was excited but also tense as it was a new experience. As carers, we also had to get used to the dryer and how to give the best experience to the client.
If it’s being used for the first time, before the heaters engage, it can be a bit cold so we learned to turn the dryer on in advance so it is nice and warm as soon as the client lies underneath. This had a great result, it’s a much better experience to come into the heat from the beginning.
The client became calm, relaxed and seemed to be very comfortable. We found that they also enjoyed being talked to and being massaged whilst under the dryer. Some of them experienced extremely relaxed states almost to the point of sleep.
In our experience, every client we introduced to the dryer to showed signs of enjoyment and relaxation. This relaxed, warm and dry state makes the dressing process easier with less struggling which is good for both the client and the carer.
On one occasion, the dryer finished its cycle and the client became very unhappy and exhibited physical behaviour that we could only assume was his displeasure at the experience ending!
Have you seen changes in mobility whist using the body dryer?
Yes, the client isn’t so stiff because of the heat and because the whole experience of drying and dressing is smoother and less stressful. Some clients with a lot of tension relaxed significantly - movement in their joints increases and muscles are more flexible.
Almost all of our clients suffer from bowel related complications and trapped wind. During this enhanced state of relaxation, the stomach also relaxes and many of them release this wind whilst under the dryer which offers additional comfort!
Have there been any longer term physical improvements?
We can’t say that, but certainly when the client is using the dryer there is an important difference. The clients who are usually more energetic can be less physical after using the dryer which is also good.
Our clients are also feeling good lately in general, this could be a result of the additional relaxation.
Does the client go under the dryer willingly?
We ask all clients if they want to use the dryer. Even if they don’t speak, we can see if they are positively excited by their reactions. They almost always say “Yes” – we have only had one that said “No” and we respected that and dried him with a towel as before.
In the beginning, they found it strange but over time they became excited about using the dryer. They started laughing and responded with a “Yes” in their own way. Clients who can talk and respond by themselves always said they wanted to go under the body dryer.
Does it only work for drying people on stretchers?
Some residents that are not showered on the stretcher, also like to go under the body dryer.
We put the shower chair under the dryer and we could see the clients were excited. On every occasion we have only seen positive responses (big smile and happy movements) when we started talking about the dryer so we know they are happy to use it.
Do you still need a lot of drying afterwards?
No, you need to sometimes check under any skin folds and the back. This is no problem, because they are relaxed you can turn the client much easier.
We usually only have to dry under the armpits afterwards and only need one towel on most occasions. Also, the hair dries quickly which is useful if a resident wants to go to bed directly - usually they have to wait to have their hair dried separately.
What happened after the trial period?
When the trial finished, the dryer was removed and we missed it a lot. It was very difficult - it’s a great device which adds a lot of value during the care of our clients. It uses less towels and the clients are considerably less stiff and tense. Certainly for our residents, it makes a huge difference to their daily lives but a big acquisition for us.
We calculated that we now use a maximum of 2 towels per client (usually only one) but without the body dryer we use at least 4 towel per person. We estimated that we now use at least 112 towels in the week compared to 55 with the dryer which means there are big savings in laundry costs over the year.
So what was the final outcome?
Due to the financial and care related benefits we were able to make a good case and were able to buy the dryer. We are happy to inform you that our clients can now use it every day!
For more information on SWZ www.swzzorg.nl
This interview was translated from Dutch and conducted by our partners at HBD Care (www.hbd.care)Back to Case Studies