Caroline Acton loves to document life. It is what drew her to photography. As the owner of Poze Photographers in Toronto, Canada, Caroline focuses on photographing a range of subjects, from family portraits to commercial work. One aspect of photography she particularly enjoys is photographing people living with a disability. Running her own studio would be an impressive feat on its own. However, it’s made even more impressive by the fact that Caroline lives with a physical disability, having sustained a T4 spinal injury in 1996.
October 13th, 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of her injury. While in university, Caroline was involved in a traffic collision. It was this car crash two decades ago that shaped her current perspective on photography and life. “As a photographer with a spinal cord injury, I am passionate about portraying a new face of disability, one that depicts people with disabilities in a more realistic light, leading independent, full lives. I believe it is time to change the lens on how people with disabilities are portrayed.”
Caroline encounters obstacles on a daily basis. Without appropriate support, something as routine as her morning hygiene regimen can be challenging. Focusing on details is essential when designing equipment for people with disabilities. A poorly-designed rehab shower commode chair can present significant hardships and dangers to a client. Caroline understands this fact well. Prior to purchasing a Raz chair, her days started with a measure of uncertainty. “With my old shower commode chair, simple things like taking a shower were hazardous to my health. With a T-4 injury, my balance is poor, therefore the sturdiness of a shower commode chair is a complete necessity. On several occasions, I nearly fell to the tiled floor due to the flaws of the other company’s chair. And all this before breakfast…not a good start to your day!”
Caroline cites a weak backrest, unsecured armrests, and flimsy footplates as potential hazards with her old chair. The safety features of the Raz-SP (Self-Propel) are not lost on Caroline. “With my Raz chair, things don’t go wrong. That’s a big deal,” she explains. The durability of the Raz-SP is derived from its rigid stainless steel frame. Anti-slip TPE tire treads, rather than urethane, provide a better grip on wet surfaces such as in the shower. Wheel locks ensure the chair remains stationary when transferring. Raz offers several options for backrests, providing the opportunity to optimize upper body support. A unique, key safety feature available on any Raz chair is the flip-up, locking armrests. The arm lock release levers are located under the rear portion of the arm tubes. A client who is performing a lateral transfer can release the lock by hooking an arm under the latch and lifting upwards. This releases the latch simultaneously as the arm pivots up. The importance of this feature cannot be overstated. The ability to release the lock and flip back the arm in one motion makes transfers easier and safer. While transferring, many clients will use the opposite, locked armrest to in order to facilitate the transfer. Another feature unique to the Raz-SP is the option to order either 22” or 24” wheels. The smaller 22” wheels allow for easier transfers in and out of the chair, better side access for self-care and a more optimal fit over a toilet bowl.
For Caroline, the Raz-SP is a shower commode chair that she can rely on. The security and stability of the chair give her one less thing to worry about, and allow her to focus more on things that are important. “The less I have to limit myself, the greater quality of life I can have.” Her Raz provides a better start to her day.