Bathroom floors and tub surfaces can be slippery, making getting out of the tub challenging for individuals with mobility issues.
If a fall should occur, all of the hard surfaces and sharp corners in a bathroom make serious injury a distinct possibility. Installing and using devices to help get out of the tub can reduce the risks and make the bathtub easier to use and enjoy.
Bath Assistance Devices
The most common type of device to help people get out of the tub is a bathtub rail. Bathtub rails come in various styles. The most basic is a straight metal bar that attaches to the shower wall or to the side of the bathtub. These can be installed vertically or horizontally. Some people also like using angled bathtub rails, bathtub chairs, bathtub benches or shower poles. Some of these rails have a textured surface to help make gripping easier and others are colored to make it easier for people with impaired eyesight to spot them. For people with severe mobility problems, bathtub lifts are another option. Bathtub lifts work by slowly lifting the seated person into and out of the tub.
For many people, devices that help improve bathroom maneuverability are necessary to continue using the bathtub without assistance. Without these devices, independent living becomes an impossibility. Being able to continue taking baths without assistance helps elderly or handicapped individuals maintain a sense of independence that can stave off depression and anxiety. Asking for assistance during a bath can be embarrassing for some, so using devices that help maintain independence in the bathroom can make a person more self confident.
Using These Devices
Individuals who are handicapped find bath rails and other devices to help get out of the tub extremely helpful. Elderly people, including those who have physical mobility issues or neurodegenerative problems such as dementia, may also find these devices useful. To properly use these items, they must be positioned in the areas that will allow for easy access and safety. Along the walls of the bathtub, on the bathtub curb and heights that meet ADA requirements are a good start.
Maintenance of bathroom mobility devices is typically simple. Most of these devices should be inspected visually for wear and tear on a regular basis. Bath rails should be inspected for loosening and strength. Give the rail a tug and check for any rust. Devices with mechanical parts should not be used if they start to operate in a poor or unusual way such as loud squeaking or rattling that is not in accordance with normal operations. If problems do occur, a professional installer can help fix the device.