Having access to the bathroom is a crucial element in whether a disabled or elderly individual can remain in their own home. However, most residential bathrooms will need at least minor modifications to be fully accessible.
Home Access Professionals installs a full spectrum of accessibility products that can help individuals overcome mobility obstacles in the bathroom. For new builds and renovations, we also provide design, evaluation, and complete construction services.
Accessible Bathtubs & Barrier-Free Showers
These curbless options eliminate obstacles and tripping hazards, allowing the patient to either walk into the tub or roll their wheelchair directly into the shower stall. The existing bathtub can be modified to allow for a step-free entry, or an entirely new tub or shower can be constructed. Additional modifications such as a shower chair and handheld shower heads can allow the individual to bathe independently or with the assistance of a caregiver.
If the bathtub will not be modified, a swivel seat or transfer chair can allow for safer, easier entry to and exit from the tub.
A toilet seat riser can make it easier for the patient to transfer from a wheelchair or from a standing position. Weight-bearing railings can be added to either side of the toilet for security. In some instances, the installation of a bidet may allow the patient to safely use the bathroom without the aid of a caregiver.
Grab Bars, Railings, & Other Fixtures
The typical bathroom presents many dangers to those with limited mobility. High steps over the side of a tub, low toilet seats, throw rugs, and floors that are frequently wet increase the chance of falling. Safety poles and grab bars provide easy-to-grip surfaces that can help prevent falls, and offer support while standing, sitting, and moving. Railings and grab bars should be placed in critical locations such as near the toilet and in the shower.
Additional fixtures around the bathroom should also be considered according to the individual’s range of mobility – for example, some may find a lever handle easier to operate than a round knob. For those in wheelchairs, the placement of fixtures is essential – light switches, faucet knobs, towel hooks, and toilet paper holders should all be within their reach.
Wet, slippery floors are a slipping hazard for everyone, and especially for those with limited mobility. Textured floors (with no throw rugs) are the safest options, while non-stick mats or adhesives can mitigate the risk of falling while in the shower.
Complete Bathroom Design & Modification
Some bathrooms will need a complete redesign to be accessible, particularly when the individual uses a wheelchair. While power wheelchairs and scooters have tighter turning capabilities, manual wheelchairs will need a full 5′ of clearance space for turning, as mandated by the ADA. A new layout can provide additional space in the bathroom, and allow for a roll-in shower stall. Additional updates such as installing a sink and counter with clearance for a wheelchair will likewise be needed.
Bathroom accessibility updates can encompass both minor additions and major renovations. During a free in-home evaluation, Home Access Professionals will thoroughly assess the safety of the current bathroom. Does the door swing outward to allow wheelchair entry? Is there good lighting throughout the room, even in the shower? Are light fixtures and storage within safe, easy reach? After this inspection, we will recommend the most appropriate and cost-effective solutions.