A typical standard shower can present hazards to people with reduced mobility. Getting into and out of the shower can sometimes be awkward as most showers have a step height of around 10 inches that can be difficult to step over, which can result in trips and falls. Cubicles are often cramped and offer little room to manoeuvre. Large shower doors or panels can act as an obstruction for carer assistance.
If you, or someone you know, are starting to find your shower difficult or even dangerous to use, perhaps it is time to consider how to make the showering area a bit safer? The good news is, there are a few simple ways that you can make your shower easier and safer to use.
1. Reduce the shower step height
Replacing a standard shower tray with either a level access shower tray, or one with a small step height, is the best way to make using the shower safer for a person with reduced mobility. Eliminating or reducing the trip hazard of the step height will make a huge difference to ease of access.
2. Anti slip shower trays with antibacterial finish
To further reduce the possibility of slips in the shower, it’s just as important to ensure the shower tray itself has very good anti-slip properties. All shower trays used in our mobility bathrooms have good quality anti-slip finishes. We also offer a range with Bio Master anti-bacterial coating which inhibits the growth of bacteria in the shower tray eliminating the risk of unwanted infections.
3. Add grab rails
When getting in and out of the shower it is really handy to have grab rails at key points to provide support. The best are wall fixed, white plastic, grooved grab rails as:
- the wall fixing provides a secure fastening which is not at risk of detaching,
- the white plastic will not discolour, and
- the grooves provide a secure grip with minimal slippage.
Chrome grab rails are often popular as they look good, however they discolour and are slippery to hold.
4. Install a shower seat
Wall mounted shower seats provide additional safety, support and comfort when washing in the shower and further help to avoid slips and falls that can easily occur on wet surfaces. Wall mounted shower seats are fixed securely to the wall, providing a stable base to sit on. They can fold out of the way to allow more ambulant users access to the shower. Alternatively, a simple free standing shower seat can be moved around the shower area or taken out entirely to suit the individual needs of all the bathroom’s users.
5. Support poles
Some shower door configurations incorporate a support pole to hold on to at the point of entry and exit into the shower. In addition, floor to ceiling poles can be mounted outside the shower area if required. These poles are very useful as they can be positioned in places where a grab rail cannot be mounted.
6. Half height shower doors
Also known as carer assisted screens, half height shower doors allow a carer to stand outside the shower area and lean in to provide assistance as required. Not only do these doors provide easy access for the carer, it also protects them from getting splashed from the shower. In situations where someone has a progressive condition, specifying half height doors can ensure the adaptation is suitable for future needs and eliminates future delays and disruption associated with changing the doors.
7. Anti slip floors
When upgrading the shower, it’s a good idea to also think about the surrounding flooring as a good quality anti slip floor will help to reduce the possibility of slips and falls.
8. Full body warm air driers
Where using a towel to dry off after a shower is becoming difficult, a fully body warm air drier makes a suitable solution. A body drier is an electric warm air drier that fits into a corner and allows the bather to stand in front of it and dry off by turning around in front of the warm air. It eliminates the need to use a towel and depending on mobility it can be used independently.
9. Bottle dispensers
Once the new shower is fitted, consideration to its actual use should be given. To help make showering easier and safer, consider using pump action bottle dispensers for liquid soap and shampoo. This will reduce the chances of dropping a bar of soap and having to bend down to find it and pick it up and prevent fumbling with bottle caps.
All of these suggestions are suitable for making a shower area safer as they enhance the ease of use of the shower for people with reduced mobility. A bathroom for a person with reduced mobility requires very different design thought, materials and items. In order to ensure the budget is spent well, it is a good idea to enlist the service of a specialist in mobility bathrooms, such as Absolute Mobility.
If you are interested in a safe to use, easy to access shower for yourself or a loved one, please get in touch with us. We specialise in designing and installing easy access showers, wet rooms and walk-in baths for people with reduced mobility.2 January,2019