For people with disabilities, one of the most challenging aspects of day-to-day care is showering. For those who are able-bodied, it is sometimes difficult to imagine the logistical challenges of bathing that confront the disabled every day. Showering can be risky endeavor for those with disabilities; they face a much higher risk for slipping and falling, and incurring a serious injury.
By using a wheelchair specifically designed for use in the shower, this daunting daily undertaking can be easier and safer. This type of wheelchair can be rolled into the shower, thus eliminating the risk of moving or standing on slick surfaces. An added benefit is that a shower wheelchair can also act as a commode.
The design of the shower chair differs from a regular wheelchair in a couple key aspects. The seat of the chair is cut out so that the user can wash all areas of the body without needing to stand. Also, this kind of wheelchair has removable armrests, which provides the user with the ability to reach all parts of the body more easily. A shower wheelchair is made of rust-proof steel or a strong plastic so that it will not be adversely affected by the water. The height of the chair should be adjustable so that the user can reach the shower knobs without risking falling from the chair. In addition, a back rest is often an optional feature, providing the user with comfort and stability.
A shower wheelchair will not work with all types of showers, of course. The best situation is that there is no threshold or lip to negotiate in order to enter the shower. This allows the chair to roll easily into the shower and avoids the need to have someone pick it up and put it in the shower. If, however, the disabled person is able to safely stand for a short time, he or she could be helped into a chair that had been placed or left in the shower. The shower itself should be equipped with a towel bar at an accessible height and a hand-held shower head attachment for maximum effectiveness.
Unlike regular wheelchairs, shower wheelchairs are not expensive. The cost averages between £80 and £200 for a new one. Buying a used shower chair is an acceptable alternative since this type of chair doesn’t have electric components that can malfunction. If considering a used shower chair, inspect it for cracking plastic and for wheels that roll smoothly. A roll-in shower is a small enclosed box-like portable no-threshold shower bay that a shower wheelchair can be rolled into and when the door is closed, the user can sit in privacy to take a shower without being transferred from a wheelchair to a shower chair and back again.
For the disabled with limited ability to bathe, the shower wheelchair makes this daily task easier and safer for both the user and for those who provide care. This specialized type of chair allows the disabled to bathe relatively independently, postponing the need for expensive institutional care.