The ability to maintain personal hygiene independently at home is important to most people, but limited mobility or disability can make this difficult. There are many aids to help to make baths accessible for people who experience some difficulty getting in or out of the bath. These include the installation of grab rails or lifts to lower the bather into the water and raise them out of it. Whilst these can be helpful, bathroom fittings that have been specifically designed for easy access are now readily available. These walk in baths and showers represent a major improvement for people who have mobility issues and are worried about slipping or getting out of the bath safely.
Walk in baths
Walk in baths can be compact or the same size as a conventional bath. They often have built in seats to help the user remain in a comfortable upright sitting position, but can be supplied with flat bottoms. The large doors open inwards and are completely watertight as the pressure of the water helps to seal around the door. Other standard features of walk in baths are the slip resistant base and the low entry point which means that only a small step is needed to enter the bath. Walk in baths come in different depths and widths. Some have additional features such as hydrotherapy options which are helpful for people with some medical conditions. The taps are thermostatically controlled so there is no danger of the user scalding himself. Plumbing is compatible with that of most baths, so replacing a conventional bath with a walk in model does not normally present any problems.
Walk in showers
For people who prefer a shower to a bath there are various models of accessible showers available. These are often ideal to use when replacing a conventional bath and will fit most bathrooms. These showers may have a low entry point or it may be ramped for even easier access. The base is slip resistant and users can choose from a variety of shower stools and chairs. The shower panels and doors can be full height or half height, whichever is more suitable for the user. They are often supplied with non slip floor to ceiling poles to provide extra support. For smaller bathrooms, compact showers are available.
It is useful to ask an occupational therapist advice about whether a bath or shower would suit an individual better before deciding whether to go ahead with the installation. Whichever choice is made it will be very satisfying to bathe independently again without having to worry about slips or falls.