Could you suggest any suggestions on getting out of the bath?
If you can still get in and out of chair then it is possible to still get in and out of a bath!
We covered using a bath board and seat in the Bathing Aid to Help with Everyday Life and these are good for getting a wash but not if you want to be able to relax as well.
To do this, getting down lower in the bath and reclining, you’ll have to use a piece of equipment called a bath lift.
This means a change in habits and when involving electricity near water, can be a nerve wracking thought!
This guide looks at options available for bathing and showering when your strength, range of movement and confidence is reduced.
These can be so helpful and designs now also include heavy duty towel rails and toilet roll holders which are dual purpose.
Its important that anything you use to pull yourself up on is fitted correctly to avoid damage to the wall and injury to self if they come off during use.
A grab rail in the right place and right height for you can provide stable support for safe movement in and out of the bath shower or on and off the toilet.
It should be easy to reach when your arm is extended to a maximum of shoulder height. Pulling up or pushing down on a sink or radiator is unsafe.
Advice from an Occupational Therapist or trusted supplier is recommended.
For people with dementia and reduced vision: Red products have been shown to be better used and recognised.
For people with painful hands: Soft touch grab rails can be easier to use and give better grip when wet in the bathroom or outdoors. Suction grab rails are also not to be trusted.
Holding onto other people is also not ideal, not secure and can injure them or yourself if they are pulling on your shoulder joint.
To use a bath lift easily you have to be able to stand from the bath pushing down on the side of the bath in order to stand.
If this is difficult then a grab rail or step handle can help.
If the side of the bath is too high for your height then a bath step may be the solution, the step should not be too high or too narrow.
Check that there is enough room to manoeuvre around it if it is to be a permanent fixture.
What about the electricity near water?
Bath lifts are battery powered so there is no need to be near a plug.
The batteries and casings are water-proof and can be charged up in another room, if you have grip strength problems it is a good idea to check whether you are able to remove and charge the batteries yourself or would need someone to do that for you.
The batteries last usually 10 – 20 baths before they need recharging depending on the make of lift.
The exception to this is the inflatable type of lift which needs a portable pump but that is water proof also. Most bath lifts have a safety feature where it will only lower you down if there is sufficient charge to get you back out.
Non-slip bath mats are great for helping you to stand safely in conjunction with a grab rail if you prefer a shower over the bath.
Other small pieces of equipment which can be a huge help in conjunction with a bath lift are:
- Long handled sponges,
- Hair washers.
For a range of of bathroom aids click here to see what Spring Chicken offer.
If you have a shower cubicle as your preferred bathing space there can still be step or threshold to gain entry.
Again a grab rail can make the entry and exit process easier. If your standing balance or stamina is a problem then a secure and height adjustable stool in conjunction with the grab rail can maintain your independence with this.
If cubicle space is limited which is sometimes due to the design of the door then a corner shower stool may still fit. Make sure the stool is at a good height for you – usually the back of the knee to the floor measurement plus 2 inches.
If you have a double shower cubicle then it will be necessary to try out different ways to exit and enter in order to find the best place to put the grab rail and stool.
Again and Occupational therapist, trained supplier or surveyor could help you with this.
A walk- in shower has a very low threshold and no door, they can have integrated seats or fold down seats.
They are usually not big enough to wheel a shower commode chair or tilt in space shower chair into, for that you will usually need a wet room.
For someone with significant mobility issues or is a wheelchair user then a wet room is the best safest option unless there is room for a speciality bath and hoist system.
Wet rooms have flat or slightly sloping floors where there is room for a wheeled or standard shower chair and there are no steps involved.
It is very important to get this done by someone who has good experience of building successful wet rooms and has testimonials or recommendations.
The wrong sloping or finishing as well as wrong configuration of where to put every thing can be disastrous.
You will want to be able to close the door when you are sitting the toilet for example.
For people who struggle to dry themselves there are body dryers available.
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No patient/doctor relationship is to be inferred and you should seek medical advice from a qualified practitioner.
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