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Best Walk-In Shower Types for Disabled Users

Updated April 2024

At Age Care Bathrooms, it’s our mission to make showering easier and safer for disabled people, those with limited mobility and wheelchair users. We recommend choosing a type of walk-in shower unit that doesn’t have a tray or lip that you step over. This type of accessible shower is often called a level access shower and is typically found in mobility wetrooms

The shower tray is flush with the bathroom floor, removing any chance of falling when entering the shower. Level access showers are ideal for wheelchair users because there’s plenty of space, and it is easy to get into and out of in a wheelchair.

Depending on your disability, there could also be other types of accessible showers that may suit your needs. With so many choices and features, it can be confusing to know how to choose the best disabled walk-in shower for you or someone you care for. We hope this post will help you navigate the different walk-in shower types and features. 

 

If you have any additional queries, don’t hesitate to call our friendly team or book your free home survey and no-obligation quote.

 

Walk-In Shower Types and Features for Disabled People

When it comes to the various types of walk-in showers for wheelchair users and disabled people, many different features are available to accommodate various levels of mobility. Here are a few things you should consider when deciding which type of walk-in shower would be best for you or someone you assist with mobility difficulties:

  • The size of your current shower/bathroom 
  • What type of disabled equipment/features you will need
  • The size and weight of the person using the shower
  • Shower choice 
  • Who else will be using the shower.

These factors are important when designing walk-in showers for disabled users to ensure they work for both individual requirements and the whole household.  Our expert bathroom team will happily talk you through the additional safety features that can be included with all walk-in shower types and help you select the right ones for your unique requirements and preferences. 

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Our mobility bathroom and wet room team has been installing walk-in showers and mobility bathrooms for over 30 years and has a wealth of knowledge in selecting the right walk-in shower types and features.

Disabled Shower Guide: Types of Accessible Showers

There are many accessible shower options, styles and designs that can accommodate specific needs and levels of mobility. Below, you will find information about the most popular types of accessible showers for disabled users. If you have any further questions, please give us a call or contact us online.

 

Walk-in accessible low-level showers

A walk-in shower may also be referred to as a low-level shower. This style of accessible shower is best suited to those who have limited mobility but can take a small step into the shower. Low-level shower trays are a maximum of 40mm high, and this low height makes it easier to step into and reduces the risk of tripping. Walk-in showers also provide an enclosed shower area that is ideal for small bathrooms and people who do not need to use a wheelchair. 

Walk-in accessible showers with a low-level tray are one of our most popular walk-in shower types for elderly and disabled people, as the general versatility of this type of shower covers a range of needs and requirements.

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Walk-in baths with showers

If you like to have the option to soak in a bath or take a shower, walk-in baths with showers can make a huge difference if you have mobility issues. For people who have more severe mobility issues, they can be fitted over an easy riser walk-in bath. This type of walk-in bath features a rising ergonomic seat to make it easier and safer for wheelchair users or people who require skeletal or muscular support. Additionally, the shower controls are positioned just above the bath taps to make it easy to reach them while sitting down.

 

During the installation of an over-bath shower, some plumbing will be involved, but unless you swap your bath, this type of shower will only usually require one day to install. When a new walk-in bath and over-bath shower are required, installation typically takes no more than three days. If you decide to keep your current bath, we recommend installing a seat or a shower board that fits across it and grab rails to help you get in and out of the bath more safely. 

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Level access showers and wet rooms

A level access shower, a feature in mobility wetrooms, consists of a shower area with no shower tray to step over. Instead, the shower tray is completely level with the bathroom floor, removing any floor-level obstacles. 

This design of accessible walk-in showers for disabled users eliminates the confines of shower cubicles, which can make it harder to shower in a wheelchair. The installation of a level-access shower can keep you or someone you care for safe and comfortable while showering and can be fitted with a fixed or mobile shower seat. A level access shower or converting a bathroom to a wet room can also make much better use of a relatively small bathroom space for disabled and wheelchair users.

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Accessible showers with cubicles

Accessible showers with cubicles are designed to provide privacy. When selecting which type of cubicle is most suited to your needs, you have a few options. Corner cubicles fit in the corner of your bathroom and are ideal for minimum space. 

 

Alternatively, full cubicles have three sides and a cubicle door and can be placed anywhere you want to install a walk-in shower in your bathroom. At Age Care Bathrooms, our amazing team can help you pick additional mobility aids, features, and fittings that suit your needs. This may be adding a shower seat, installing anti-slip flooring in the rest of your bathroom, or swapping your toilet for a low-level disabled toilet. 

 

Related Reading: The Different Types Of Shower Enclosures

 

Thermostatic mixer showers

A thermostatic mixer shower is the safest option and will help to prevent burns when used in all walk-in shower types and designs for disabled users. Thermostatic mixer showers preheat water from your boiler or hot water tank, and they automatically compensate if the pressure changes. This ensures you don’t get scalded if you’re in the shower and someone else in the house turns the cold water on. Another option is to install an electric shower, which is great for reducing fluctuation in water pressure while keeping your shower at the exact temperature you choose.

 

If you are looking for a shower for the visually impaired, we would recommend a shower unit that is RNIB-approved. These showers are generally designed to make the shower easier to navigate if you have sight loss, with features such as raised markings on the buttons and audible warnings to indicate when the shower is on or off.

 

Related Reading: What Are Digital Showers?

Mobility Showers

Entering and Exiting Accessible Showers

If getting in and out of the shower is not always easy, it’s time to change that. We supply many different mobility aids and features to help you get safely in and out of your walk-in shower or bath. Here are some of the most popular features that we recommend installing in all mobility bathrooms:

  • Grab rails —  Provide extra support around the bathroom. These are often placed on walls around the shower or bath area. 
  • Horizontal rails —  Great for both walk-in showers and baths. They can help you push up from a sitting position and also provide additional support when sitting down.
  • Vertical rails — They can be placed around the bathroom for extra support. Having them next to a shower seat can be very helpful and will stop you from slipping.
  • Shower boards — Designed to fit over the top of your bath and act as a seat so you can sit down and shower in your bath. Shower boards are suitable for most styles of baths without fixed shower screens.
  • Swivel bath seats — If you require extra support, swivel bath seats fit over the bath and swivel inwards. They are great for back support and also act as an armrest. These seats are set in a fixed position and do not lower into the bath.
  • Anti-slip flooring — To help prevent slips and falls in the bathroom, anti-slip flooring in wet rooms and mobility bathrooms is essential and comes in numerous styles and designs. 

To learn more about accessible walk-in showers and their features please get in touch with our caring team of mobility bathroom experts.

 

Seating Options for Accessible Showers

Sitting down in walk-in showers can change showering from a difficult experience to an enjoyable one in comfort and independence. Various seating options are available, including showers for disabled users, and the best shower seat will depend on your individual needs. 

  

Below are four of the key shower seating options to consider:

  • Shower stools — Available in various sizes and styles, including corner shower stools and those with backs and armrests for extra support. Folding shower stools are also available, which take up less space if you want to put them away when not in use.
  • Wall-mounted shower seats — These are classified into two types: static and hinged. Certain models will have back support and armrests, but you should check with the manufacturer to see if there are any weight restrictions.
  • Shower chairs — You can choose from static or mobile shower chairs in all shapes and sizes. All shower seats will come with rubber cups on the legs to prevent any slipping and may be more suitable for a person who can’t use a wall-mounted shower seat due to weight restrictions. For extra comfort, most shower chairs come with armrests and padded seating. Shower chairs with a castor base system are another option. They are perfect if you want to move the chair around and have the security of knowing it will not move once you have put it where you want to sit in the shower. These tend to have metal frames and plastic seats and are generally smaller than a standard shower chair. 
  • Self-propelled shower chairs — Available in many styles and designs, these are typically multi-functional. A popular choice is a self-propelled commode chair, which can be folded when not in use. For independence and dignity, they are designed so the user can propel themselves into the shower. Self-propelled shower chairs can also be pushed by someone else and will travel across carpet, tiles, and lino.

You should always check to see if your shower tray or bath is capable of having a seat on it with the added weight of a person. We offer a free home survey and no-obligation quote to find the shower and seating most suited to your needs and preferences. 

 

Walk-in shower types and using a shower seat 

Mobility issues may mean you require a shower seat for additional support and comfort when showering. Here are a few things to consider when using a shower chair safety:

  • Ensure that the shower seat is stable and does not wobble — a fixed foldable shower seat is an excellent option if other people in the household prefer to stand when using the shower.
  • Keep showering products, such as soap, razors, and shampoo, in a holder on the wall close to the shower controls for easy access. 
  • Use anti-slip mats to prevent slips and falls when getting off the shower seat.
  • Take your time to get on and off the shower seat.
  • If you care for someone else, show them how to use the shower seat and give them privacy unless they request your assistance.
  • Distribute weight evenly and avoid sitting on the edge of the shower seat or chair.

Mobility Aids for Accessible Showers

Once you have selected your ideal walk-in shower, we recommend the following mobility and bathroom aids to make sure that your shower experience is safe and dignified:

  • Shower head holders — Adjustable shower head holders allow the shower head to be positioned at a height that suits the user.
  • Shower screens and enclosures — For additional privacy, a shower screen or enclosure can be portable or fixed. They come in various configurations and are also ideal for wet rooms and walk-in showers. 
  • Long-handled bathing aids — There is a wide selection of long-handled bathing aids with handles of different lengths, such as sponges and bath brushes. For a person with limited mobility, they can make washing easier and reduce the need to stretch or twist, which may cause discomfort and increase the risk of a fall. 
  • Leg lifters: Moving your legs when seated on a chair or swivel chair over the bath’s rim can be easier with leg lifters. You use a reinforced strap with a loop at one end and then physically lift your leg into the bath.
  • Anti-slip mats and flooring: In every bathroom, anti-slip mats or anti-slip flooring can help prevent slips and falls. We have many different anti-slip flooring styles and supply a range of anti-slip mats.
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What is the ideal shower temperature?

According to the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE), shower temperature should not exceed 41°C. When the temperature is higher than this, it may cause a drop in blood pressure, making the user feel dizzy and lightheaded. The easiest way to judge if the temperature is too high is by looking at the skin. When the skin gets red or flushed, the temperature probably needs to be reduced. We highly recommend installing a thermostatic temperature gauge to guarantee the shower is always at the optimum temperature.

You won’t have to sacrifice design for functionality when you choose Age Care Bathrooms. With a bespoke walk-in shower for disabled and wheelchair users, showering can be enjoyed with comfort and dignity. Our team of bathroom specialists genuinely wants to assist you in selecting the best accessible shower or mobility bathroom for your needs and budget.

 

Discover Our Accessible Showers Today

 

Are you curious about how a walk-in shower or mobility wetroom will fit in your bathroom? Share your requirements and provide images and rough measurements of your bathroom space using our secure site, and we’ll provide you with a customised, no-obligation 3D design and the cost. 

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