How to Empty Your Leg Bag by YourselfI have been using an electric leg bag emptier since the early 90s. The first one I got was from a family run business here in the UK. Unfortunately they had a tendency to leak which is obviously not nice. Around 1995 I came across another company who were selling a different type of electric leg bag emptier. This one was a lot more reliable and I had hardly any problems with leakages. However, the design was not very good in my opinion. Because these bag emptiers needed to run off the 12 V supply, they obviously needed to have some kind of wires attached to the emptier. The RD Equipment leg bag emptier had two very flimsy spade end terminals attached to the emptier. In my opinion this is a flawed design because it didn't take much to break these terminals. Once they were brokenly off there was nothing to attach the wires to, you literally had to solder the wires onto the outer body which both difficult and very crude. To be perfectly honest, anything that is wired into a wheelchair is going to break occasionally. I have lost count of the times the wires have broken over the years, there's nothing worse than finding that your bag opener doesn't work after all your carers have left for the day.
I have just purchased a brand-new Permobil electric wheelchair and I really didn't relish having to get somebody to wire my leg bag emptier into the chair again. So I had a look around on the Internet on some of the forums and somebody on the CareCure spinal injury support forum recommended the Freedom Flow Wireless leg bag emptier. They have got various YouTube videos showing how these leg bag emptiers work so it was easy to see how good they seem. So I have bought one and have now been using it for the last few days.
The Freedom Flow leg bag emptier works in a completely different way to the two other leg bag emptiers I've had before. For starters it is completely wireless, it doesn't rely on any wiring and you don't have to wire it into your wheelchair batteries, or have to have any type of battery hanging off the back of your wheelchair. Rather than using a valve, the Freedom Flow uses an electrical function which pinches a tube together as you can see in the video at the bottom. When you activate it using a wireless control box, the pinched tube is released letting fluid flow. The valve type emptiers would often leak, this would result in me having to get somebody to take it apart and clean the valve out properly. This cannot happen with the Freedom Flow because it doesn't use a valve, fluid just flows from your bag straight down a rubber tube, there is nothing to get restricted or clogged up. Cleaning the Freedom Flow is simplicity itself, there is no need to take the chair into the bathroom and run a bag full of water and disinfectant through the opener, all you need to do is clean the tube, takes a minute.
I have opted to attach the leg bag emptier to my leg in a different way to what they suggest. They suggest that you Velcro the leg bag emptier to your leg bag, I'm not sure that this is really a good idea since most of us change our leg bags every day. Therefore I have opted to use the Velcro straps that come with my leg bags, using two of them I have strapped the leg bag to the inside of my ankle as you can see from the picture to the left will stop
I have made a video which shows the basic operation. My bag was almost full, probably containing between 700 and 750 mL of fluid at the time. I have not been using this bag opener for that long, however so far I am extremely impressed. The only thing that you will have to remember is to charge it at least once a week, obviously depending on how many times a day you empty your bag.
Go to Strawberry Technologies for more information on purchasing one of these leg bag emptiers
The video below shows exactly how this leg bag emptier works, you can see that two flat plates come together and trap the tube to stop any fluid escaping, as soon as you press the button the two plates move apart letting the fluid flow freely. You can also see that there is a button on the bag opener, this enables you to open the two plates in order to pull the tube through.