My Career as a Toileting Specialist

So that's not my real title, I’m actually an occupational therapist (OT). But so much of what I do hovers around the bathroom that one time a patient dubbed me a toilet specialist!

As an occupational therapist it is my job to help make sure people can be as independent as possible with their activities of daily living (ADLs). Those activities are different for each person: kids spend most of their time at school or in play; adults’ lives center around work; the elderly often get to indulge in their favorite recreational tasks. But the one thing everyone does, everyday, is go to the bathroom. So it is a part of every evaluation. No one really wants to talk about it, but OT’s are the healthcare professionals tasked with making sure the matter is addressed no matter the circumstance.

And do you make it to the bathroom on time?” is the usual way I ease us into that part of the conversation on my very first meeting with a new patient, likely just 5-10 minutes into our conversation. Surprisingly, people are generally candid and open, but what’s concerning is just how many people struggle to answer "yes" to that question.

The reasons for incontinence are wide and diverse, and similarly, so are the treatment solutions. But the one thing that is the same amongst all sufferers is the sense of dignity lost when dealing with incontinence. It keeps people from being somewhere more than an hour like the movies, sleeping in a place other than home and even leaving the house at all.

One solution I have a long habit of recommending is timed voiding. This is a process that most people already employ if they have young children around - go to the bathroom on a schedule before you feel the urge. Most people have to go every 2-4 hours if they are well hydrated, so set a timer for 3 hours and get up and go. It provides the opportunity to empty the bladder before getting the internal signal to go, which is often faulty in many forms of incontinence.

Needless to say, this is a pain and not always fail proof. So when I ran across D-Free Toilet Timing Device at a trade show I asked LOTS of questions. I mean if this could be a legitimate solution for my patients then I want to be able to connect them with it. Then we can solve the problem and get people back to what they love to do, which is truly what I am solicited to do. So the question is, what’s the verdict?

Dr. Brandy Archie, Founding Director of AccessAble Living

I was delighted to find that it actually works in a way that nothing else does. It is wearable, modern and convenient. It uses ultrasound to scan your bladder, just like they would do in the hospital, and sends the information to your phone, which discreetly buzzes you when your bladder gets to the fullness trigger that you get to set! So no more need for rushing to the bathroom when your bladder is already too full because your body didn’t give you the cue early enough. No more being unsure how much time you have left before you must self-cath. And no more wet briefs or pads on your skin or in your trash can.

As an OT and unofficial toileting specialist I can say this is a great outcome for a problem so many have and that has not had a truly new solution come to the market in years!

Dr. Brandy Archie

Dr. Brandy Archie is an occupational therapist with over 10 years of experience working in a range of practice settings, from hospitals to home health in various parts of the country. She has earned specialty certifications in Living in Place, Low Vision, Driving Rehabilitation and Brain Injury. Currently, she is the Founding Director of AccessAble Living where they keep people living in their homes as they age or acquire a disability by modifying the home, educating the client and connecting them with the right area resources.