Occupational Therapy Advice and Information
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Easy access and wet room shower considerations:
- Ideally when looking at providing shower facilities instead of bathing facilities you need to ensure that you create the largest space possible to enable you to use the shower easily and safely.
- If room allows for it the best size for a wet room shower area is 1200 mm x 1200 mm (4’ x 4’). However this is often only possible when providing within a new build situation or where the original bathroom is large and spacious.
- As a rule of thumb, if you need to use a mobile shower chair, or even a static shower chair, then it is important to provide a shower area that is no less than 1300 mm x 820 mm as this is the minimum size required to use a chair safely, especially if you are self-propelling.
- Options that should be considered for shower tray pre-formers are 1300 x 820 mm or 1400 x 900 mm.
- If you are more ambulant but just have problems with some restricted mobility that makes it difficult to lift your legs then straightforward bath replacement trays could be the answer for you.
- However, if you have any specific disabilities or diagnoses where there it is likely or possible that you may deteriorate in the future then make sure that you provide something for the long term and not something that meets your needs now as this might not be the most cost effective or efficient way to manage your problems and may result in you having to redo the work again in the future at unnecessary additional cost. This could be avoided by simple changes to the type of shower tray base you install now.
- Ideally install a pre-formed level access shower tray base, which can be set within the floor using a floor former and completely covered with slip resistant flooring or tiles to provide a completely step free and fully accessible showering area.
- A floor constructed wet room option may also be acceptable that incorporates shallow falls to the drainage unit (1:40 or 1:50 gradient recommended). The drainage outlet in this option must be installed in the corner of the designated showering area.
- Level access shower tray bases are easily available and there are options that are suitable to install as bath replacements. Make sure that for long term use that the level access shower tray base that you install is suitable for ambulant and wheelchair use. They should have no greater a lip than 5 mm above finished floor level at the point of entry with a rounded lip.
- Where it is not technically feasible to install a level access shower tray then a step in shower tray could be considered. The maximum height of step must be no greater than 85 mm and the use of a ramping system would need to be considered if you require a mobile shower chair so that you can either wheel yourself into the shower or have someone else wheel you into it.
Removing the bath and replacing with easy access/level access/wet room shower facilities:
I do not want to carry out such major alterations to my property if possible and would like to know what other options there are that might be suitable