Researchers from the BBC flagship programme contacted Karen in January 2018 and following an assessment of their needs, Johanna and Will were offered a complete home redesign. This project would provide the family with a fully accessible house so Karis could stay regularly and provide her mother with vital respite.
The ‘Big Build’ would include a two-storey side extension and reconfiguration of the complete property so appropriate space and wheelchair access were available for Karis. A key element of the conversion would be the installation of specialist equipment to assist with daily living – hence the DIY-SOS production team sent out communication to local product suppliers for help.
Andrew Williams of Gainsborough Healthcare Group, the parent company of Abacus Specialist Bathroom Solutions, saw a post on Facebook regarding this request and following CEO approval, he made contact with an offer of a donated specialist bath.
Before the build began in July 2018, senior representatives from Abacus visited Johanna’s house to assess Karis and to ascertain which bath would provide the
ideal solution for her. A Scorpio 1700 bath with powered height adjustment and bather transfer seat was deemed most appropriate as it would eliminate the
need for manual lifting and lowering of Karis. Once Karis was lifted, rotated and lowered into the bath on the transfer seat, the bath could be raised gently immersing Karis into temperature controlled water. This would provide a safer, more enjoyable experience for Karis and allow family members to help with personal hygiene at a comfortable height, without risking back or muscle injury.
Unbeknown to the family, Abacus worked with the designated DIY-SOS designers, architects and structural engineers to ensure Karis could own a Scorpio 1700. Specifications were agreed so that the bath could be installed in the designated location which was being converted from a bedroom to an accessible bathroom.