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What Is the Best Shower for a Disabled Person?
Updated November 2023
The best shower for a disabled person must allow for wheelchair users and people with limited mobility. At Age Care Bathrooms, we recommend choosing a shower unit that does not have a tray or lip that you step over. This type of accessible shower is called a level access shower, 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 leave 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 the best disabled shower for you or someone you care for. We hope this post will help you navigate the features and equipment you may want to include with accessible showers. If you have any additional queries, don’t hesitate to contact our friendly UK team or book your free home survey and no-obligation quote.
Shower Rooms for Disabled People
When it comes to shower rooms for disabled people, there are many different types of accessible showers to accommodate various levels of mobility. Here are a few things you should consider when deciding which type of shower would be best for you or someone you assist:
- 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
- Style choice
- Who else will be using the shower?
These factors are important when designing your accessible shower, but our team at Age Care Bathrooms will talk you through the features that can be included in shower rooms for disabled people and help you select the right ones for your unique requirements and preferences. Our mobility bathroom and wet room installation team has fitted thousands of mobility bathrooms and has a wealth of knowledge in designing and installing accessible showers.
Types of Accessible Showers
When it comes to accessible showers, there are many different styles and designs to accommodate your needs and level of mobility. We have explained each style you can choose from below.
Walk-In Accessible Showers
A walk-in shower is also 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. Great for small bathrooms and people who do not need to use a wheelchair, walk-in showers provide an enclosed shower area that can be designed to meet the requirements of your space.
Walk-in accessible showers are one of our most popular options for shower rooms for disabled people, as the general versatility of this type of shower covers a range of needs and requirements. If you believe you could benefit from a walk-in shower or want to learn more about designing a shower room for your mobility needs, please get in touch with Age Care Bathrooms.
Over-bath showers can make a huge difference if you have mobility issues and can be very cost-effective. They can be fitted over your bath or an easy riser walk-in bath, which features a rising ergonomic seat to make it easier and safer for wheelchair users or people who require support when sitting in the bath. The shower controls are positioned just above the bath taps, which makes them easier for you to reach while sitting.
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.
We recommend using this type of shower with a standard bath if you feel capable of climbing over the bath. If you decide to keep your current bath, we recommend installing a seat or a shower board that fits across it. Also, invest in grab rails to help you get in and out of the bath more safely.
Level Access Showers
A level access shower is usually featured in mobility wetrooms, consisting 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 form of accessible shower provides users with a large shower without narrow walls, which makes it harder to use with mobility issues. 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 can be installed in a relatively small space, and this type of accessible shower is perfect for a shower room for disabled and wheelchair users.
Accessible Showers with Cubicles
Accessible showers with a cubicle 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 in your bathroom. At Age Care Bathrooms, we always include grab rails with any of our cubicle showers. Our amazing team can help you pick any other 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.
Using a Shower Seat in Accessible Showers
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 some privacy unless they request your assistance.
- Distribute weight evenly and avoid sitting on the edge of the shower seat or chair.
Thermostatic Mixer Showers
A thermostatic mixer shower is the safest option and will help to prevent burns when used in any style of shower 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.
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 shower/bath. Here are some of the most popular features that we can recommend installing in a mobility bathroom:
- Grab rails — Provide extra support around the bathroom. These are often placed on walls around the shower/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.
You can learn more about accessible showers and their features on our website, or please get in touch with our team if you have any questions.
Seating Options for Accessible Showers
Sitting down in your shower can change showering from a difficult experience to an enjoyable one in comfort and independence. Various seating options are available for accessible showers, and the best shower seat will depend on your individual needs.
At Age Care Bathrooms, we offer various ways to sit in the shower.
Below are four of the key shower seating options to consider:
- Shower stools — Available in various sizes and styles, including corner shower stools and shower stools with back 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. At Age Care Bathrooms, we offer a free home survey and non-obligation quote to find the shower seating most suited to your needs and preferences.
Mobility Aids for Accessible Showers
Once you have selected your shower, we recommend the following mobility 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 different length handles, 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: Vital 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.
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.
Age Care Bathrooms are leading UK suppliers of accessible showers. We have assisted thousands of our customers in selecting the right accessible shower options. So why not give Age Care Bathrooms a call and speak with a member of our expert team to explore your options today at 0800 808 5897?
You can also complete our online form, explain your requirements, and a member of our team will call you back.
Request Your Customised No-Obligation 3D Design and Quote
With a bespoke shower for disabled and wheelchair users, showering can be enjoyed with comfort and dignity. You won’t have to sacrifice design for functionality when you choose Age Care Bathrooms. Our professionals are here to assist you in selecting the best accessible shower for your needs and budget.
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.