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Justifying the installation of a Surestop stopcock as a person-centred intervention to maximise occupational performance.

Justifying the installation of a Surestop stopcock as a person-centred intervention to maximise occupational performance.

The Surestop stopcock range

A Surestop stopcock is a unique mechanical device, with no electrical components enabling the safe management of water use in the home. With the simple flick of the switch, the Surestop stopcock instantly turns off the water to the bathroom, kitchen or whole property dependent upon the installation site. It is an easily installed and low-cost safety measure that should be considered in every bathroom and kitchen adaptation.

There are currently two options for the stopcock installation, with another innovative device to follow:

  • Switch at source - replacing the traditional brass stopcock with the easy-to-use switch.
  • Remote switch option, which can be located at any height up to 6m away from the device.

The risk of domestic flooding

Flooding has the potential to cause significant damage to your client’s home. The potential water loss from a burst pipe in a typical house can equate to 400 litres (two baths of water) if the water supply is stopped quickly. However, if left unchecked for a full day, as much as 9,600 litres of water (48 baths of water) will flow into the home. In addition to the loss of property, the impact and disruption to the lives of service users are immeasurable. Even after relatively small floods properties can be deemed too risky or ‘hazardous to health’ and force service users to move out or relocate until the damage is repaired. Emergency provision of respite services also increases both the potential economic loss and personal distress from flooding incidents. For all domestic properties, it is therefore important that a stopcock is accessible and easily turned off in an emergency.

Evidence and clinical reasoning

For some of your clients, there may be an increased risk of domestic flooding. This includes those with Learning Disabilities, Parkinson's, Dementia, or another condition that affects mental reasoning, where a person may not have the capacity to determine safe water use at home. For example, a bathroom can present several challenges for a person with dementia, given they are likely to have problems with their short-term memory and may struggle to use common bathroom fixtures with the same competence as they used to. Accidental flooding can occur easily when taps are left running or plugs become blocked, creating several hazardous risks to the home and all those who live there. The presence of hot water and water flooded onto floors also create additional hazards for a client group with an already increased risk of falls and other water-related accidents. When providing occupational therapy assessment and intervention to this client group, it is vital to consider the needs of the individual. Common justifications and tips for maximising occupational performance when bathing is explored below.

Tips on occupational performance and clinical reasoning for the Surestop stopcock:

    1. A person-centred approach.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE 2018) recommend that the principles of person-centred care underpin good practice in dementia care. As with all care planning for people with limited or reduced capacity, the assessment and intervention process requires an understanding of the needs of the individual, promoting independence and dignity whilst minimising the risk of harm. The varied range of devices in the Surestop stopcock range allows for a range of location options, including a remote switch that can be positioned at the right height or accessible position for your client. This enables you the creativity to install the device in an infinite number of locations, supporting individualised care planning and the 'just right’ solution for each client. Therefore, it offers protection against these risks associated with water use and provides an opportunity for a person-centred approach to intervention planning.

    2. Protects the home environment

All homes are at risk of domestic flooding and according to the leading UK domestic insurer, Direct Line, the average household cost for damage caused by burst water pipe is £7000, with the smallest of leaks quickly becoming an expensive issue to rectify. Where adaptive equipment, specialist bathroom and or kitchen installations are present these costs can escalate considerably. Aside from the immediate loss of personal property and equipment to water damage, there is secondary damage to consider and the health implications of living in a damp environment. According to the NHS advice service (2021), having damp or mould in your home increases your likely hood of having respiratory problems, respiratory infection, allergies, and asthma. Mould is a huge problem after a flood, toxic mould or black mould can have a long-term impact on health and has risks to those experiencing respiratory illness, such as COPD, Emphysema or Asthma. Including the Surestop stopcock in bathroom and kitchen adaptations as standard, offers some insurance against these risks by enabling water supplies to be stopped instantly, significantly reducing the long-term impact to the home environment of a flooding incident.

    3. Protects against falls and slips.

NICE (2013) report that fall and fall related injuries are a common and serious problem for older people. For people with dementia, the risk is increased because of predisposing risk factors including reduced functioning, sensory impairment, poor spatial awareness, disorientation, and potential dehydration. 

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