Occupational Therapy Advice and Information
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Solutions when there is great difficulty lowering and raising from the bottom of the bath and physical assistance from someone else may be required.:
- Bath seats can be used in isolation or as an addition to a bath/shower board. These provide a raised seat, above the bottom of the bath, to enable You to sit within the bath and wash. They can also be used as a ‘stepping stone’, with or without a board, to help when lowering down onto or standing up from the bottom of the bath. You would require good upper body strength to be able to lower down from a board onto the seat and then back up again, especially if you are also going to lower from the seat to the bottom of the bath.
- Battery powered Bath Lifts – they fit inside the bath and it is recommended that you purchase one with removable components to make them lighter and safer to handle when lifting in and out of the bath for cleaning, or if other people are using the bath regularly. They are operated by a push button handset, with rechargeable batteries that are charged outside the bathroom through the mains power supply. Most lifts can give 8/10 lifts, depending upon the weight of the User and the condition and age of the battery, before requiring charging but it is better to recharge them regularly so that they are always fully operational. They have a backrest, which make them more stable than the more basic equipment. The backrest can recline on some models, which enables you to lie back in the bath for a more relaxing bath. Over the last few years the design of bath lifts has been modified to enable them to be as close to the bottom of the bath as possible to enable You to be more fully immersed in the water for washing, but it must be noted that they are never completely flat and that you remain on the seat of the lift throughout bathing.
- Bathing cushions: These are lightweight and subsequently very portable, making them a possible option when there are other people within the household who will want to use the bath. They are designed to enable You to be easily lowered to the bottom of the bath and raised up again by an air flow compressor system that inflates and deflates the cushion within the bath. Through the design of the bathing cushion You can lie in the bath in a slightly reclined position. The compressor is battery operated and is easily operated using a waterproof hand control. Some residual air can be left in the cushion when you have lowered yourself to the bottom of the bath to provide additional support and comfort. To be able to use this equipment safely and appropriately it is essential that you have good upper body strength and are able to lift your legs safely over the side of the bath without support because the bathing cushion does not provide full support when transferring and until virtually deflated to the bottom of the bath. The inflatable seat unit of this type of equipment is not as stable as the more sturdy bath lifts and you must have good balance to be able to use it safely. It is advisable to have a full demonstration and assessment with this type of equipment.
- Fixed Bathing Hoists: These are not designed to enable You to be independent and will require the assistance of a Carer but can be a useful solution for people who need or want to have a bath but are unable to lift their legs over the side of the bath, transfer on and off a seat or lower and raise themselves within the bath using other more conventional equipment. They are available with both manual and powered mechanisms to raise and lower the seat of the hoist. The powered mechanism will enable you to operate the hoist yourself but a Carer will still be required if you need help lifting your legs. They can be fitted to wooden or concrete floors on a fixing plate at either the side of your bath or at one end. It would be recommended that you are assessed with this equipment prior to purchase or installation due to the considerations that need to be made.
- Mobile Bathing Hoists: These provide the same assistance as the fixed bathing hoists but, in addition, because the chair frame has wheels where the seat can be fixed and detached it can be used in situations where either You are unable to walk to the bathroom or there is insufficient room in the bathroom for safe and appropriate transfers. You would transfer onto the chair in another room, and this can be with the use of alternative hoisting if necessary, and are then wheeled into the bathroom. The bath hoist arm is fixed to the floor of the bathroom but in this situation once You are wheeled into the bathroom the chair is detached from the base and attached to the arm of the hoist and then the transfer in and out of the bath is carried out in exactly the same way as the fixed bath hoist. An additional benefit of this type of bath hoist is that the seat and base can also be used as a commode, therefore reducing the transfers involved for the Individual. There are both manual and powered versions of this type of hoist.
This option can be frustrating to some people as it is not possible to be fully immersed in water and it is not possible to fully relax in the bath or stretch legs fully, which some people might find unacceptable.
Bath seats are available with backrests and/ or armrests and come in different heights. The shorter the height of the seat, the more effort will be required to get out of the bath but it means that you are lower down in the water when you sit. Some seats have a cut-out section at the front to make personal cleaning easier. There are three types of bath seat: suspended, wedge and freestanding. If you have an acrylic bath you should not use a wedge type bath seat as the seat could crack the bath.
The following options would require a detailed assessment by an Occupational Therapist so please contact Able 2 OT Services if you require further advice and information regarding them.
I am having problems accessing the bath but equipment is not suitable and I would like to know what other options there might be for me – Click ‘Yes’ below
I already have a shower cubicle that I am having problems with accessing – Click ‘No’ below