Automated bathing device helps elderly shower safely and earns inventor Spirit of Hong Kong award nomination
Pilot units installed in local rehabilitation hospital and several nursing homes
Not everyone wants to rely on carers for bathing. However, as people grow frail with age, getting in and out of a traditional bathtub without help can be difficult and even dangerous.
Now a team of bathroom automation specialists in Hong Kong is looking to address the problem.
Samuel Hui Sing-kwong and his team have developed a device that can automate the entire process, which comprises rinsing, temperature control and soaping.
Their aim is to empower senior citizens to bathe independently and, hence, with dignity.
Pilot units of their Sit and Shower system have been installed in a local rehabilitation hospital and several nursing homes across the city.
The device lets users bathe in a sitting position so as to remove the risk of falling on a slippery bathtub floor.
And it monitors water temperature to make sure the shower is never dangerously hot.
“Senior care is actually a global problem,” Hui said, noting most people were unaware of their elders’ bathing problems.
The founder and director of Automation for Humanity said its products were designed to enable senior citizens and those with limited mobility to bathe safely and with minimal effort.
He also believed the system would help its users preserve their dignity.
“Many people still want to have control over their lives as they age. But in a nursing home, you will have to accept someone touching you when you take a shower,” Hui explained.
The entrepreneur added that bathroom automation could enhance carers’ productivity and help the city’s nursing homes cope with their manpower shortage.
“Young people don’t want to join the industry because they don’t like the idea of helping someone bathe.”
Hui’s team is also working on a scaled-down version of the device for private homes in the city.
His company is part of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation’s incubation programme.
Hui has been nominated this year by the corporation for the South China Morning Post’s Spirit of Hong Kong Awards.
His name has been put forward in the Innovating for Good category, which honours people behind breakthrough technologies or innovations for the good of society.
While developing his business, Hui has helped raise public awareness of seniors’ bathroom safety.
He said the device still had room for improvement and that his team had been reviewing feedback from users.