Occupational Therapy Advice and Information
Answer the question below for helpful advice and information...
Solutions to problems transferring into the bath:
- Grab rails on the wall to provide additional support when transferring in and out of the bath and also when lowering into the bath and/or standing up from the bottom of the bath.
- Bath Steps: These can assist people who have difficulty stepping over the side of the bath to get in and out of it. They are available in differing heights that can be adapted to suit the Individual to give a range of heights from 2” to an overall maximum raised step height of 7”, although if this is the presenting problem then a detailed Occupational Therapy assessment would be recommended for you as the need for such a raised height immediately indicates that you have other problems and alternative solutions may be better to consider.
- The steps are placed at the side of the bath and reduce the level between the floor and the rim of the bath; making it easier for those people who have problems raising their legs to lift them over the side of the bath when transferring.
- Some steps also come with a fixed side rail, which provides additional stability for You when raising your legs over the side of the bath.
- The steps are lightweight and easy to move around but very durable and will cope with User weights from 16 stone up to 30 stone from some Manufacturers.
- They are usually made from reinforced plastic, so are easy to clean, but you can purchase fixed height wooden steps, with a cork top for warmth and safety.
- They often have a textured finish to make them more slip-resistant.
- They can be purchased in bright colours, which is especially useful if you have a visual impairment.
- Bath and shower boards that fit across the rim of the bath enable You to sit and lift legs over the side of the bath to either remain seated here or then be able to lower down into the bath. It is essential that you have good sitting balance to use this type of equipment. It may also be necessary to fit a grab wall on the wall adjacent to the bath, if there is one, to provide an additional hand-hold when lifting legs over the side of the bath as this can be an unsteady task. These boards are waterproof, so that they will not deteriorate over time. They can either have a solid or a slatted seat, which makes it easier for the water to run down into the bath, but they must not hang over the edge of the bath otherwise they can become unstable and lift up when You transfer on and off the board.
- It is important to measure the width of the bath, on the outside of the bath, from rim to rim. This will enable the correct length of board to be provided. The bath rims must be at least 40 mm (1.5”) on both sides to accommodate a board so that it rests on the rim safely and can be secured.
- The boards are secured by brackets under the seat that are adjusted to fit to the sides of the bath. It is important that the board is fitted securely so that the board does not move when the User transfers on and off it and it is also important to check the fixing regularly so that the board does not become loose and therefore slip. Some irregular shaped baths will not be suitable for the fixing of bath/shower boards.
- Swivel Bath Seats. Swivel bath seats are fixed to a frame that then fits across the top of the bath, resting on the rims on both sides. It is essential that the bath rims are at least 40 mm (1.5”) wide on both sides of the bath to be able to safely accommodate this equipment. These seats swivel through 360 degrees from outside the bath, round and over the bath to aid transfers over the side of the bath. They have back support and armrests. Most have a lever to lock the swivel mechanism in place when it is in position over the bath.
- You must have the upper limb strength to be able to ‘assist’ the seat to swivel otherwise a Carer will need to provide this physical assistance.
- You must also have the ability to be able to lift your legs over the side of the bath to use this equipment otherwise the Carer will once again have to physically lift your legs up and over the side whilst the seat swivels. This would be of some concern and require an assessment prior to purchase because this may result in the Carer experiencing back discomfort or even possible injury due to them having to bend forwards to reach your legs and lift them over the side of the bath. These seats do not lower the user into the bath.
Solutions to problems lowering down onto the bottom of the bath and/or with standing up from the bottom of the bath can be simple and straightforward. Here are a few suggestions:-
Bath Steps are readily available either with a fixed height or can be provided to a specific height through the purchase of a stacking system of steps that lock for stability.