Little things can make a difference.
Having a shower, a bath or even going to the toilet can sometimes be awkward, difficult and not very safe, if, for example a person has poor mobility, a disability or suffering health issues, this situation may be highlighted even more if the right products or equipment are not suitable for that person, not fitted correctly or positioned in the wrong place. When difficulties start to become more problematic in the bathroom, a person can experience a lack of confidence and their bathing habits can start to change with the tendency to change how they bathe or shower or maybe they don’t bathe or shower as often as they use to.
It is important when planning or designing a bathroom for a person who may struggle in the bathroom for whatever reason, is to make sure of the functionality of the equipment within the bathroom and making sure it works for them and they can comfortably operate and use the bathroom equipment safely without any difficulties or feeling unsafe.
Another important factor when planning or designing a bathroom is where bathroom products or equipment are positioned. If the planned layout is not correct or the equipment is not positioned suitably, then it can make going to the bathroom more awkward, difficult and in some circumstances, unsafe. Common problems such as doors hung wrong way, doors clashing with other doors or sanitaryware being in the way are just some of the minor things that, if corrected could make bathing and showering experiences far easier and safer.
Making small changes in a bathroom can help significantly, that don’t necessary cost a lot of money. Below are some small changes that can make a difference in a bathroom, making it more functional, easier to use and therefore a safer place:
- Door swinging into the bathroom – rehang the door so it opens out against a wall, this will also open up the bathroom.
- Bathroom doorknobs – change to a door handle (lever type) which is a lot easier to use especially with arthritic hands.
- Raising the toilet – there several ways this can be done, change the toilet pan & cistern to a comfort height (pan & cistern), fit a toilet plinth or fit a toilet seat raiser. A slightly raised toilet is easier to sit on and get off and can help reduce risks of falls when using the toilet.
- Shower or bath seats – wide range of seats, stools, or chairs to suit individual needs. Position these where you can easily access the shower or bath taps, avoid positioning shower or bath seats where you twist your body or get up and walk to operate taps or shower controls.
- Grab rails – offer more security, stability and give the user more confidence. Grab rails need to be secured with the correct fixings and fitted in the correct position to suit the user.
- Shower caddy / shelving in shower area – positioning caddies / shelving in the shower area to hold shampoos, gels, sponges etc. that is within easy reach, can help reduce awkward movements such as twisting and bending down.
- Bathroom lighting – a well lite bathroom will help see any obstacles or anything that may be a trip hazard. Make sure switches and pull cords are easily accessible.
- Toilet fames – wide range of toilet frames that can be free standing or fixed. Will offer extra support whilst sitting or getting up off the toilet.
- Colour contrast products – such as rail supports, wall tiles, flooring and toilet seats may help identify equipment for the visually impaired.
- Shower controls – easy to use shower controls such as lever paddles on mixer showers or large push buttons on electric shower.
- Raised button and levers – lever taps on wash hand basins and baths and lever handles or raised buttons on toilet cisterns will assist greatly if you have poor hand mobility whilst washing, bathing or toileting.
- Emergency pull cord – installing an emergency pull cord, strategically positioned within the bathroom is essential as a high percentage of slips and falls occur in the bathroom. They are a fast and efficient way to call for assistance, giving the user knowledge there is help if it required.
- Anti-slip flooring – anti slip floor in a bathroom situation is essential as it will offer a more secure footing.
- Non-slip tape / discs or non-slip mats – where there is no anti slip base in a shower or bath, using heavy duty slip resistant tapes / discs or heavy-duty mat will offer a more secure foot hold and help reduce slips and falls in bath or shower areas.
Some factors to consider:
The above-mentioned equipment can be added to any existing bathroom without major works to the bathroom
Wide variety of products available from local mobility dealerships and reputable website companies.
Always use a qualified or certified trade for the appropriate works that need to be carried out i.e.: electrician, flooring company, joiner.
Positioning equipment such as grab rails, caddies and shower seats is important.
Use quality products
Based in Manchester, Accessible Bathroom Consultants are a local friendly company that can help and assist with independent and impartial advice when it comes to planning, designing, specifying, and sourcing products for all types of accessible and disabled bathrooms.