Shower Wheelchairs: Enjoy Independence, Safety and Cleanliness
Shower wheelchairs are designed for those with various disabilities who may not be able to stand alone or sit on the typical handicap shower chair or bench while taking a shower.
For a person struggling with a disability or mobility issue, a shower wheelchair is one step in the direction of retaining a degree of independence, especially when taking
Who should use shower wheelchairs?
are unable to sit on fixed benches or stationary shower chairs that
have been built into the shower. Using this type of mobility aid allows
a disabled person to determine when he or she would like to enter and
leave the shower.
Only those who can comfortably bathe themselves should use a
this particular shower chair unsupervised. Some types of
wheelchairs designed for shower use have arms that fold down to
provide better access to areas of the body while washing. Most shower wheelchairs also have an opening in the seated portion of the chair. This opening is similar to a toilet seat and is designed to allow a person the ability to wash private areas without the assistance of a caregiver.
Shower wheelchairs are designed to roll into the shower without having to be lifted over a curb or uneven place in the floor. They are specifically made for shower areas that are easily accessible.
For this reason, the shower must have space enough to accommodate a wheelchair. The ADA recommends a 60-degree space for wheelchair turn-arounds. This is required in hotels and motels and other public lodging facilities, but is not required in private homes.
However, those who plan on remodeling a shower to accommodate a wheelchair that can be used in the shower area, should have precise measurements of the particular rolling shower chair that is going to be used. It is also recommended to take into account the degree of space needed for arm and leg movement once a person is inside the handicap shower stall.
Wheel chairs for shower use must only be used in wheelchair accessible roll-in showers that do not have a raised threshold. Barrier free handicap showers are specially designed to easily accommodate shower wheelchairs.
Other items needed in a wheelchair-friendly stall include:
- storage shelves placed within reach of the handicapped occupant
- grab bars placed at the correct height for safety
- hand-held or height-adjustable shower heads for ease of use
Redesigning a shower in order to accommodate a shower wheel chair can be difficult unless there is an advanced degree of do-it-yourself experience. Unless you are adept at both building specifications and plumbing installation, it is best to hire a professional who is knowledgeable in the design features of a disabled bathroom and ADA guidelines.
How to buy a shower wheelchair
1. Decide what type of shower wheelchair best meets the particular needs that you or a loved one may have. Remember that a quality handicap chair is either made of steel that is rustproof, PVC or sturdy plastic material. The seats and backrests are waterproof. 2. Select a price range that fits your budget. Rolling shower chairs can range in price from $200 to thousands of dollars.
3. Find a reputable dealer. Ask hospitals, nursing homes, and physical therapy offices for referrals. There are also some knowledgeable online sources that can provide guidance and the right product.
4. Evaluate the different styles based on function, maneuverability and weight.
5. Ask for a product trial period. Many companies will rent or lease handicap shower chairs so that you can try it out first to ensure that it meets your needs and specifications. Above all, make sure that the chair you choose designed to meet ADA bathroom requirements. Shower wheelchairs that have been endorsed by the ADA are guaranteed to maneuver easily inside any ADA compliant shower.
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