The Drink-Partner consists of a 25-ounce water bottle, and a cup holder. The bottle has integrated into its cap, a vibration resistant 24-inch long flex tube that holds the (36-inch long) drink tube that carries the liquid. The cup holder has a universal clamp that can be attached to tubes (or rails) with a diameter from 7/8 inch to 1-1/2 inches. The Drink-Partner is most commonly clamped to the handle of the wheelchair and the flexible tube holder allows the tip of the drinking tube to be positioned very close to the user’s mouth. Other locations on a wheelchair frame are also functional. The Drink-Partner is sold with a drink tube already installed in the bottle and an extra drink tube is provided.
Because the drinking tube is firm, the user must be able to close their lips in a pucker around the tube to create a vacuum for sucking. Additionally, they must have the strength and suction to suck liquids around 30 inches. The Drink-Partner Drinking System is an excellent drinking system for individuals that can meet these functional requirements.
For those who are unable to pucker their lips adequately to create a vacuum and thus be able to suck through a hard-sided drink tube, the tube can be replaced with oxygen tubing. Oxygen tubing can be compressed by the lips or even bitten, so that its shape is no longer round but more contoured to the shape the individual's lips when they are not puckered, but closed around the tube. This allows most people who have poor lip control to close their lips enough to create a vacuum and be able to suck through a straw.
Oxygen tubing is available from Mealtime Partners (MtP Part No. 6082). If oxygen tubing is being used, it should be noted that special attention should be paid to getting the end of the tube all the way to the bottom of the bottle. This can be difficult if there is ice in the bottle, because the tube is soft.
The Drink-Partner Drinking System is suitable for individuals who can move their head freely to one side and who have good lip control and strong suction.
Significant Features of the Drink-Partner are:
- The Drink-Partner Drinking System enables independent drinking for disabled individuals.
- The bottle cap has a metal top as an integral part of it, that reduces the risk of the cap breaking.
- The drink tube is removable for cleaning or replacing.
- The drink tube is easily replaced. The Drink-Partner comes with an extra drink tube so the original drink tube can be replaced if it becomes contaminated or damaged. (Additional drink tubes are also available and relatively inexpensive.)
- The upper section of the bottle is clear which allows the user to see the contents, and also the caregiver can see if the bottle needs cleaning.