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Throne Accessories

Helen Kelleher graduated as an Occupational Therapist from Sydney in 1965. Her first appointment as an OT was at the Mount Wilga Commonwealth Rehabilitation Centre, Hornsby, in Sydney. Due to family commitments and living overseas, Helen’s career path was put on hold for several years. Upon returning to Canberra, after several years living overseas, Helen joined the Mobile Unit of The Rehabilitation Team at the Canberra Hospital in 1973. In the two years with the unit she made home assessments and arranged the supply of equipment for clients. This gave Helen a more thorough understanding the needs and difficulties faced by clients with the equipment that they had at this time. After eight years running a day care program for the aged and disabled, Helen moved back into the hospital environment working at Queanbeyan Hospital. Her duties included Home Modifications as well as working with patients on the wards and in the Day Care Centre.
It was while working in the Home Modification area that Helen identified a deficit in the design of some of the equipment. She saw that the safety aspects in accessing the toilet for many of her clients were not being adequately met by any of the equipment available. The most obvious challenge Helen identified was that other rails required patients to pull themselves up, a very difficult task for the frail, aged and those with back injuries. The Throne rails are positioned much closer to the body allowing patients to push up more like they do when sitting on a chair. Having exhausted enquiries in her search for suitable equipment, Helen set about developing her own ideas with safety and comfort high on the agenda. She was encouraged to learn that existing porcelain bowls had the strength to hold a rigid fixture that she knew was the answer for people with disabilities and physical restraints. Helen commenced designing a prototype Rail and continued to develop the Rails until the highest safety aspects were met as well as ease of transportation. The initial design was so well received that Helen set about refining the model to accommodate people with a full range of disabilities including sports injuries as well as rails and steps especially for children.