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Solutions for Accessible Bathrooms

  • Published: 2013-06-03 - Contact: North Star Marketing
  • Synopsis: Independence in the bathroom is one of the most challenging tasks for accessibility and safety in the home.

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"Selected for their ease of installation, a strong structural base and integrated wood backing, barrier-free showers are ideal for both residential and commercial use for the disabled and those aging in place."

Those who require modifications to their bathroom to accommodate a disability, injury or who are aging in place will find this guide to bathroom modifications solutions very helpful; key products already approved by United Disabilities Services.

Independence in the bathroom is one of the most challenging tasks for accessibility and safety in the home. No matter the disability, the bathroom is almost always one of the most challenging rooms in which to maneuver. It is difficult to feel at home, much less feel safe, if you don't have secure access in your own bathroom.

Achieving safety and independence with bathroom modifications is possible with the right products, but there are added benefits as well. For example:

Customization: Modifying a bathroom is, by definition, a very individualized project. It includes making alterations to a living space to meet the needs of physical limitations or aging needs in order to live more independently. A customized bathroom space will depend on an individual's needs, preferences, and space available.

Aesthetics: Accessibility doesn't mean stark or institutional. An accessible bathroom can be as beautiful and luxurious as you imagine it to be. Beautiful tile, stylish sinks and modern fixtures don't have to be sacrificed and can easily accommodate accessibility, independence, and safety.

Safety: True accessible modifications are primarily focused on altering spaces for safe movement and creating a safe flow. Safety can range from something as simple as strategically placing a grab bar for balance to completing a full bathroom remodel.

Here are the five key solutions for those who want to have an accessible bathroom:

1.) Wet Room Systems: A wet room is a fully water tight bathroom with a "walk-in" shower area that is usually level with the surrounding floor but with a slight slope to the drain which is fitted directly into the floor. Wet rooms typically have tiled walls and floors and the shower section is usually partitioned off with glass walls and a glass shower door. Wet rooms are particularly useful where level entry to the shower area is essential - for instance, for use by someone in a wheelchair.

A wet room is more versatile than a conventional shower, which would typically have a raised entrance into the shower. The wet room tray and enclosure provides ease of accessibility and also gives additional options in bathroom design.

With a base that is pre-formed and pre-sloped, wet room systems can be installed, truly barrier-free, directly onto concrete, sub-flooring and floor joists for walk in, or roll in, showering. The thin structural base ensures that the structural integrity will not be compromised, as can happen with a traditional thick tile mud pan. Custom sized and shaped tile showers can be created with this innovative system.

Creating a wet room that is both accessible and fashionable meets both safety goals and aesthetic considerations for those who are disabled or aging in place.

2.) Barrier Free Showers: Selected for their ease of installation, a strong structural base and integrated wood backing, barrier-free showers are ideal for both residential and commercial use for the disabled and those aging in place. A well-designed barrier free shower minimizes the chances of being installed in a non-barrier free manner, having grab bars installed without proper backing, and also reduces installation costs by installing directly on floor joists, sub-flooring and concrete surface.

3.) Roll-In Showers: A well designed walk-in shower can be easily installed and can make a shower much more accessible for those in wheelchairs. Roll-in showers are designed so there is no need to step up or step over a barrier at the entrance to the shower. Selected for its roll-in design, ease of installation, structural base and integrated wood backing, walk-in showers can be used for residential or commercial purposes. The design minimizes the chances of being installed in a non-accessible manner or having grab bars installed without proper backing.

4.) Doored Bathtubs: A premier bariatric bathing system for easy transition in and out of the tub, doored bathtubs are a solution for those with size and weight mobility issues. Doored bathtubs can be built-in or have free-standing side access. These tubs have a low threshold door to enable easy entry and exit, with or without a transfer device. With its full front and side panels, it can be installed either against a wall or in a corner. With the contoured interior, a bather can sit comfortably in a slightly reclined position. Carefully designed, they accommodate the user without sacrificing installation space and look polished in homes and institutions.

5.) Accessories: Grab Bars and Shower Seats: A simple solution for balance and stability, grab bars are one of the easiest ways to provide support and balance in the bathroom area for anyone with mobility issues. They can be useful almost anywhere in the bathroom: for getting on and off the toilet, for moving into and out of the tub, for stability in the shower or at the sink, or as handrails for navigation about the space. A wide variety of grab bars are available, from standard wall mounted grab bars, swing up grab bars or pole grab bars. There are many elegant options available that will lend design pizzazz to an accessible bathroom remodeling project.

Shower seats or shower chairs are designed for anyone who is wheelchair-bound or for those who find it difficult to stand for periods of time. They are wall mounted and come in a variety of sizes and shapes to provide a sense of security when they are in the shower. Many varieties of shower seats are available and can fit the decor of a bathroom remodeling project.

United Disabilities Services has been working with home modifications for the disabled, veterans and those aging in place for many years. With deep expertise and experience in the home modifications field, UDS now offers an eStore with products that have been evaluated by the UDS team for use in home modifications. The UDS eStore can be found at https://estore.uds.org



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