People with limited mobility can benefit from the convenience of handicap bathtubs. Alternatively, a walk-in shower with unobstructed access will serve the same purpose. Both choices must be ADA approved and accessorized properly for maximum benefit to the user.
The design of handicap bathtubs allows the bather to open a door on the side panel of the unit to enter. This entry method eliminates the need to step over the side of a tub, which can be dangerous for disabled persons. The door entry allows easy wheelchair transfer as well.
Inside the tub, users are seated and partially or almost fully immersed in the water. For bathing ease a removable hand shower nozzle and water valve are located within easy reach. These units have multiple seating options available, and some will accommodate lifting devices. Doors are watertight when shut and open with a simple lever handle mounted on the inside.
The benefits of handicap showers include greater space to bathe in, easier access and multiple seating options. An existing bath or shower space can easily be converted to a walk-in shower for a person with limited mobility. ADA approved grab bars and a strong seat must be installed and mounted to the wall studs. The proper seat is typically supported by a steel mounting bar and the wall mounting hardware. Grab bars are located at the entrance to the space and within easy reach of the shower chair. The entire space will be tiled-in and as with the bath, a hand shower on a long hose is used for washing.
Pre-fabricated units are manufactured by companies who will measure for the unit and install it. These units are installed as one piece, usually fitting into the existing space. These handicap showers are a good alternative to a bathtub and offer more design versatility as well.