Designing an accessible wet room.

Designing an accessible wet room.

Coming up with a plan

Designing an accessible bathroom involves consideration in giving as much independence for the client as possible whilst considering their mobility and disability issues.  I will be highlighting some main points to consider which will make the bathroom more accessible, easier to use and making it a safer environment.

When designing a wet room, it doesn’t mean it has to look clinical or belong in a hospital, aesthetics is important as like all bathrooms, its part of a home setting.

To start designing an accessible bathroom you need to understand the clients short and long-term mobility requirements for bathing or showering.

Taking as much detail of the existing bathroom is essential, such as:

  • Plumbing / drainage
  • Existing bathroom furniture / equipment
  • Wall and floor coverings
  • Lighting & heating
  • Electrics

Above are some of the features of the bathroom that will be affected when planning for a new wet room. Other details required includes:

  • room dimensions, include windows and doors
  • existing products dimensions
  • layout of existing plumbing, including heating pipes
  • wall and floor structure

When designing an accessible bathroom, it would be ideal to create as much manageable space as possible and create a safe flow within the bathroom which may require moving toilets, wash hand basins, radiators etc. to accommodate the bathroom flow.  Achieving safety and independence with bathroom modifications is always possible with the right advice, design, and products.

Things to Consider in a wet room

Access – A wet room will allow easy access and accessibility, allowing clients with poor mobility, to access the shower area using an external range of equipment such as shower chairs, frames and walking sticks, and this is helped because there is no steps or trip hazards in a wet floor shower room.  Anti-slip textured flooring will aid foot hold and help prevent slipping on the floor allowing safety when entering the bathroom and more importantly the shower area.

Thermostatic Showers – When choosing a shower, there are a few things to consider from a client’s perspective, such as their; hand mobility, upper body strength, visual impairment etc. as this may have an impact on where the equipment is positioned or the type of product that is installed. It is worth noting from an installation point, water pressure has to be considered and this also may have an impact on the type of shower product to be installed.

Thermostatic showers whether electric or mixer types, should always be used and these can be enhanced with lever controls, care kits and larger controls / push buttons, to make using them easier.

Enclosures – Wet rooms can be used with a wide range of enclosures including weighted curtains, full height screens, flipper panels, half height doors & panels, bifold doors and panels. If a carer is assisting, this may limit the type of enclosure but generally having such a wide choice helps the design of wet room.

Product Positioning – Positioning products such as shower units, grab rails and shower seats, in the correct position for the user is essential to make the showering experience as easy as possible. For example, when installing a shower, it should be positioned where a person can operate the shower unit without twisting, turning, standing or it being awkward in anyway, especially in a seated position. The shower seat should be positioned where there is ample leg room and grabs rails should be positioned to aid support when getting in and out of the shower.

Grab Rail Supports – Grab rails are one of the easiest ways to provide support and balance for someone with mobility issues in the shower area. They have a variety of uses within the bathroom and come is a variety of types, sizes, angles and appearances such as floor to ceiling poles, grab rails, angled rails, hinged arms etc. Fitting a grab rail in the correct position will not only offer stability and safety but give confidence and reduce the risk of slipping or falling.

Shower seats, stools, and chairs – Shower seats, stools and chairs are a huge benefit in a shower environment, especially to anyone who is not steady on their feet or have balance issues. They offer a safe, supported, seated space whilst washing and showering with many different types available.

A secure fitting is required when fitting a wall mounted shower seat, these seats can be padded, have leg and arm supports, with the option of folding back to the wall when not required. Shower stools and chairs are free standing so don’t require any installation.

Wall Shelf Storage – Having somewhere to easy access shampoos, conditioners, body gels etc is an advantage whilst showering as it can reduce movement within the shower area, and which in turn helps increase safety.

There are different options such as shelving and rust-free caddy’s but must be positioned so they are not a hazard. Another option would be a built-in niche, a purpose-built storage shelf which can be positioned safely anywhere in the shower area, if it is planned for.

Help & Advice:

Accessible Bathroom Consultants offer impartial and independent advice along with a personal service. We can assist you with the following:

  • Product positioning –               –      Budgeting         –     Equipment sourcing
  • Plans and designs –     Equipment and price negotiating.             –    Project management
More To Explore

Wet Floor Shower Room Case Study

Wet Floor Shower Room Case Study: From private residential to commercial disabled bathrooms, Accessible Bathroom Consultants has over 30 years’ experience in the specialist bathing

Share This Post

Skip to content