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Why Mobility Aids Are So Important – Case Study

Posted by Mike Phipps on July 26, 2021

 A title graphic for – Ask Kate – article

Why Mobility Aids Are So Important – Case Study

Hello! I am Kate Makin, Ability Superstore’s resident Occupational Therapist (OT). I am here to answer your mobility aid queries. I also write articles and guides to assist you in choosing the right mobility aids.

As an OT, I work with a variety of individuals who have various health and mobility issues, are all ages and have many different illnesses, injuries and long-term disabilities.

For this blog, I thought I would share an example of the type of work that I do with you. This case study shows how a specific mobility aid has made a significant difference in a person's everyday living. After reading this one, you will see how rewarding my job as an OT is.

Case study – Mr N – Uccello Kettle & Tipper

Recently, I assessed Mr N – a 62-year-old man. Mr N had cerebral palsy, and both of his arms and legs were affected. He had stiff, jerky movements in all four limbs, which is a typical presentation of cerebral palsy. Mr N also had marked flexion (the action of bending, or the condition of being bent) in his wrists, elbows, and hips. This meant that his wrists and elbows were bent, he leant forward, and his legs pulled together at the thighs.

Mr N was unsteady when walking outdoors and was at risk of trips and falls. Muscle weakness and stiffness were also significant issues.

Mr N lives alone in a sheltered housing scheme. He has a home carer who visits once a day to help him prepare a hot meal, however, he was keen to be as independent as possible.

Due to his cerebral palsy, Mr N had difficulty with many everyday tasks. For example, he had difficulty with his fine motor tasks, including fastening buttons and tying shoelaces. He also had a poor grip, so he had trouble holding a cup, or mug. Due to his jerky movements, this also made things like eating and drinking very difficult.

How A Uccello Kettle & Tipper Would Help

As part of my assessment, I watched Mr N make a cup of tea. Due to his jerking movements, he appeared unsafe. I had concerns about him knocking the kettle over whilst he was reaching for items in the kitchen. Mr N also tried to lift and pour the kettle, and I felt he was at risk of being scalded.

There are many mobility aids that I felt would be of benefit to Mr N. One of these was a Uccello Kettle & Tipper.

A picture of the Uccello kettle

The Uccello Kettle & Tipper is safer than a standard kettle, as it’s incredibly easy to fill and pour without having to lift the actual kettle. Once the water has boiled, the kettle can be tilted forward while still in its base to pour the water, so there is no risk of spilling, or dropping the kettle.

I felt the Uccello Kettle & Tipper would help Mr N make a hot drink safely and independently. His friends and family would also have peace of mind knowing that he was no longer at risk of burns and scalds.

One of the things I love about my job is that often the solution to a difficulty that someone is having is quite simple. Often, one small daily living aid can make a significant difference in someone’s everyday life.

I know that Mr N would definitely recommend the Uccello Kettle & Tipper. It is an ideal kitchen aid for anyone who experiences any shaking, or tremor in their hands, or who has poor strength and grip and feels unsafe using a traditional kettle.

The Uccello Kettle & Tipper – L'Origine

Not every great product has a good origin story – many are stumbled upon accidentally and go on to change the world. For example, some of you may know that sticky notes were created after a batch of glue was made that was thought to be useless! On the other hand, some inventions are crafted specifically to fulfil a purpose; this is the case with the Uccello Kettle & Tipper.

A black and white photograph of Andy De Petra

Born in 1946, the Italian designer, Andy De Petra, had a passion for creation, invention and coffee. As a young man, Andy relocated to Australia.

Unfortunately, being diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis in 2011, daily life started to become tricky for Andy. He began struggling to complete tasks that he could once carry out with ease.

Andy’s frustrations culminated one day while he was doing his favourite ritual – making his morning coffee. He started to find the task of lifting the full kettle of water challenging to pour and pondered other people who must be faced with the same inability, as well as the potential dangers surrounding this.

As a designer and inventor, Petra’s busy mind focused on creating a solution for the predicament. He spoke to other people who had similar disablements, but to no avail. Recognising the challenge, he set to work.

The new kettle would have to be light enough to easily lift, or not have to be lifted at all.

Andy’s ingenious idea was to pivot the kettle about a fulcrum, significantly decreasing the input energy required to operate it. A kettle that could be kept in place for safety reasons and tipped with a safe and easy pouring motion – the Uccello Kettle & Tipper was born!

The name of the kettle actually derives directly from the attributes of the kettle – it bends at the middle, tilting down towards the ground, and has a beak (spout). If you didn’t guess, I am describing a bird, which is what Andy thought of his design. He named it Uccello, literally translating to “little bird”.

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