A new study has found that three out of five disabled people have difficulty accessing their own bathrooms. The Community News website reports that a survey commissioned by the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability also found that a quarter of disabled people had difficulty getting into and out of their own homes.
The research follows on from a recent report by the BBC that at least three major cities in the UK had no plan in place to provide wheelchair accessible homes at point of purchase, including Birmingham, Manchester, and Leicester. There are currently around 104,000 people on the waiting list for an adapted home.
Gemma Hope, Director of Policy at Leonard Cheshire, said: “Underfunded councils need more resources to ensure they can meet rising demand for vital home adaptations. A lack of accessible homes is restricting people’s independence, as well as their opportunities to work and socialise.”
She added: “Disabled people need a place to live that is safe, comfortable and meets their needs.” It is thought that only 9% of homes in the UK meet even basic accessibility standards, despite the government pledging to change building regulations to ensure that all new homes are accessible by default.
What can be done to make a bathroom more accessible?
For people with restricted mobility, the ability to take care of their health and hygiene needs safely and independently is of the utmost importance. Here’s a look at some of the most popular bathroom adaptations that make this possible.
Walk-in baths have a watertight door that allows the bather to enter and exit the bath without having to step over the side of the tub. They usually have other safety features too, such as anti-slip floors, seating, easy to use controls, and grab rails. Some baths have advanced features such as air jets and power seats.
Walk-in baths can be fitted with hand held showering systems that allow the bather to thoroughly cleanse themselves from a seated position, which is a great option for those who want to replace a regular shower over the bathtub set up. There are various styles and shapes available, from compact tubs that allow the bather to sit upright, to full length tubs.
For those who require full wheelchair access with enough space for a carer as well, one of the most popular solutions is a wet room. This is a fully tanked room with waterproof walls and flooring. The floor is gently angled to allow water to drain without the need for any raised profile shower trays.
The elimination of any raised thresholds to cross allows for direct wheelchair access, where the user can transfer straight onto a shower seat. The showering area can be separated from the rest of the room with a glass partition if necessary, to reduce splashing onto the other bathroom sanitary ware.
For those who don’t want the expense or disruption of a major refit, a bath lift is a great option. They can be fitted to your existing bathtub in a matter of hours, and allow you to safely and comfortably access your bath.