Walk in Baths – The things you should know:
Bathrooms are one of the most important rooms in any household and when it comes to having a relaxing bath, many people don’t consider the safety aspects of getting in and out, in fact, most of us just take it for granted that we can immerse ourselves into a bath, lie down and enjoy a hot soak.
When mobility issues start to arise, getting into a bath can be a struggle and become an effort, especially when climbing over the side of the bath to get into the bath. Lowering yourself to the bottom of the bath can also be a challenging experience. After having a bath, it probably won’t get any easier, pulling your body weight up, turning over on your knees, grabbing the bath rim, grab rail or nearby wash hand basin to assist in getting out, all this whilst wet and generally on a potentially slippy surface.
You can see why slips, falls and injuries can occur and could affect a person’s confidence and possibly a reluctance to bathe.
It’s not all doom and gloom, fortunately, there are many safe options when it comes to bathing. There is a wide variety of bathing products in the marketplace, such as safe steps to get into a bath, bath boards, bath seats, bath lifts, adapting existing baths with frames/doors, powered baths, height adjustable baths, all of which are widely available from a host of different companies. Choosing a product depends on what you want out of your bathing experience, and how the product works with your current and long-term mobility/disability and budget.
In future blogs I will look at the different bathing options, but I want to take a closer look at Walk in Baths and point out – The things you should know.
What is a Walk in Bath:
A walk-in bath is a specially designed bath with a built-in door for easy access, enabling you to walk into the bath, rather than climbing in and out of the bath, eliminating hazards such as slipping or falling.
Types of Walks in Bath:
There are a number of types of Walk in Baths, such as:
- Compact, Mid, and Full length
- P shaped / shower type
- Fixed seat / no seat / powered seat / recliner
- Side entry and front entry
- Inward, outward, and bifold door openings
Bathing Experience / Features
The bathing experience of a walk-in bath is different to having a normal bath and in my 30-year involvement in the specialist bathing sector, people who have had Walk in Baths fitted are happy to get into a bath safely, gaining back their confidence and independence.
Having a bath under “normal” circumstances would generally look like this:
- Plug in
- Turn the hot tap on
- Pop back after 10 mins
- Top up with cold water
- Climb into the bath.
- Have a bath
- When finished, step out and pull the plug out to empty the bath
Having a Walk in Bath would look something like this:
- Open the door & walk into the bath,
- Step into bath onto slip-resistant floor
- Close the door (creating airtight / watertight seal, so water will not escape from the bath)
- Sit down and turn on the taps to start filling the bath (this will depend on the type of bath)
- Thermostatic taps or TMV3 valves should be used, this will mix the water to a regulated temperature and prevent scalding.
- The bath will fill whilst your sat in the bath. Fill times will vary, this is dependent on water pressure and the water capacity of the bath.
- Have a seated bath (this will depend on the type of bath)
- The bath will empty whilst sat in the bath. Emptying times will also vary, this is dependant just on the water capacity, but is generally a lot quicker than the fill time
- When the water is emptied, the door is opened and step out.
Some Other Features:
This is dependent on the manufacturer and type of walk-in bath, but additional standard / optional features include:
- Slip resistant seating
- Sterilised protection
- Powered seats
- Reclining seats
- Seats with backrest
- Hydrotherapy systems
- Chromotherapy systems
- Music systems
Installing any walk-in bath should be installed by a competent plumber/bathroom installation company (and electrician where fused spurs may be required) and should take no more than one working day (this does not include any additions such as tiling, flooring, boxing etc). There must be a sufficient turning circle in the hallway to manoeuvre the bath into the bathroom making sure the bath will fit through the bathroom door. Most walk-in baths will fit the footprint of an existing bath, but some tiling and floor may need attention.
Help and advice
It may seem there is a lot of information to take in, but it’s important the right product is chosen to make bathing safer for short-term and long-term future. Manchester-based; Accessible Bathroom Consultants can offer independent advice that will not only help you through the process but will make sure you are choosing the right bath to suit your needs.
Some Top Tips
- Use a reputable company/manufacturer
- Get more than one quotation
- Make sure everything is included in the quotation, e.g., Bath, panels, thermostatic taps, seat, delivery, commissioning (if required) installation etc.
- Make sure there is turning space in the hallway (leading to the bathroom)
- Make sure the bath will get into the bathroom
- Have you got good water pressure or is a pump required
- There are different door closing mechanisms, make sure you can open and close the door
- Is there enough hot water to fill the bath – if tank fed
- Make sure access into the bath is not restricted
- Make sure the aftercare service/warranties are available and factor in costs.