Showers and Bath Tubs
If you can transfer yourself out of your wheelchair, then your existing bathroom may only need to be modified with a shower chair, grab bars, a shower wand, a tub lift, or a shower bench. Grab bars should be installed on three sides of the shower, non-skid strips should be applied to the bottom of the shower or tub, and adequate space is needed for transfer to the shower bench. To facilitate transfer to the bathtub, benches, bathtub seats, portable seats, built-in seats, and hydraulic seats can be used.
If you cannot transfer yourself out of your wheelchair, then a wheelchair shower needs to be installed so you can wheel yourself directly into the shower, or have an attendant wheel you in. There are three types of showers for people in a wheelchair: (1) roll-in; (2) transfer with fixed bench; and (3) roll-in with removable bench. Preformed, fiberglass, wheelchair shower units can be purchased and installed.
Water Controls and Valves
* A single-handed control, with a lever that controls the temperature of the water and adjusts the flow, and a clear width between the handles and the wall, OR,
* Remote control and electric valves, if needed – Shut-off valves that are easy to use and accessible; pressure balance and thermostatic valves, at the point of the water supply, for safety
* Water temperatures between 110 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit, at the point of water supply, for a 105 degree delivery temperature
* Insulated hot water feed and draining pipes to prevent scalding
Counters and Sinks
* 27 inch deep counter tops for sinks that are securely bracketed so wheelchair can move under the sink, OR
* 27 inch deep counter tops to the left or right of the sink so wheelchair can move next to the sink and there is workspace for self-help devices and personal hygiene products
Towel Racks, Soap Dishes, Mirrors, and Floors
* Towel racks, soap dishes, and shelves no more than 40 inches from the floor; a recessed shelf in the shower for soap, shampoo, etc. is useful
* Mirrors positioned so the bottom edge is 36 inches from the floor; full length mirrors should be installed wherever possible for the convenience of other family members.
* Bathroom floors should be hard and should not become slippery when wet
* Toilets raised 20 inches for people in wheelchairs, OR
* A standard-height toilet with a raised toilet seat and a cutout in the front and back to allow an individual or attendant access for digital stimulation and hygiene purposes
* Specially designed seats with attached arms, if needed.
* Sufficient area around the toilet to permit wheelchair transfer
* Grab bars at a height to maximize the person’s ability
* Easily operated flushing device and easily reached toilet paper
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