Changing levels of mobility and independence means many people will need help with personal care, including washing, dressing, and using the toilet. The very personal nature of these tasks makes this a sensitive area, and it is important that you understand not everyone will be open to help straight away.
MND does not normally affect people’s ability to control their bladder or bowel function, but loss of mobility can make it hard to get to the toilet quickly enough. This can be very distressing for people with MND.
Support you can give
Simple things like going to the toilet are complicated by MND and can cause unnecessary distress if not addressed quickly. By putting some simple and effective processes in place, you can help support the person with MND to maintain their dignity and keep as much control over their personal care as possible. For example, you can:
- prepare things in advance and set up a routine
- ensure privacy in all areas of personal care as this is vital and ensure personal space is respected
- ask the person with MND what they would like to do for themselves
- make sure you treat people compassionately, and as you would like to be treated
- help them as soon as they request to use the bathroom, and also discuss the option of strategic bathroom breaks when they are travelling so the situation is less likely to become urgent for them while out and about.
One of the first tasks for many people with MND is to make changes to their bathroom and install equipment, especially hand rails, toilet risers, bath/shower seats and hoists.
Some recommend a Clos-o-Mat toilet which combines functions of a WC and bidet with addition of warm air drying.