Tub Access

Tub Access

In this issue we will discuss products and techniques to help with tub access.

In a previous article we discussed ways to use the bathroom without having to touch any of the fixtures, click here to read that article.

For those that have difficulty getting into the tub for bathing, there are a number of solutions that you can consider.

First some basic notes on safety.  If your tub has sliding tub doors like this:
Picture of Typical Tub Slidng Doors
Typical Tub Sliding Doors

The first thing you should do is REMOVE THE DOORS.  Doors like these can be a safety hazard.  The doors are not made to support body weight, and if you were to slip, the natural reflex would be to grab onto the doors, which will then come crashing down.  In most cases, you can simply remove the doors and leave the frame in place.  Then simply install a shower curtain to control the water.

Picture of person removing tub doors
Remove Tub Doors

If you need something to hold onto when getting in/out of the tub, then consider installing a grab bar that is properly supported for your body weight.

Also, by removing the doors, the space available to enter/exit the tub is greatly increased and will give you much more flexibility with how you access the tub.

A lot of people will go to a shower seat when standing during bathing becomes difficult.

Picture of typical shower seat
Typical Shower Seat

This seat sits completely inside the tub and will give you a stable seat to sit on while bathing.  If you have difficulty getting in/out of the tub, then a tub transfer bench is a better solution.

A tub transfer bench has two legs inside the tub and two legs outside the tub.

picture of basic tub transfer bench
Basic Tub Transfer Bench

The benefit of this device is that the user can sit down on the seat from outside the tub, then scoot along the seat into the tub area.  For anyone with mobility difficulties, this is a MUCH safer way of getting in/out of the tub.

picture of someone getting in the tub using a tub transfer bench
Getting in the Tub

Tub transfer benches come in a variety of shapes and sizes:
picture of tub transfer bench with commode
Tub Transfer Bench with Commode

You can get tub transfer benches with commode cut outs to help clean yourself, as well as commode pails where the tub transfer bench could act as a bedside commode.

Picture of tub transfer bench that slides and swivels
Sliding Tub Transfer Bench

There are also tub transfer benches that slide for those that cannot scoot along the bench.

If the space in your bathroom is really tight, you can get tub transfer benches that do not have legs on the outside of the tub, but rather sit on the edge of the tub.

Picture of sliding tub transfer bench clamped onto edge of tub  picture of tub seat that sits on the edge of the tub
Tub Transfer Benches That Rest on the Tub Wall

All of the products shown above work with a typical tub.  If you have a garden or whirlpool tub, most of these products would not work.  You can get leg extensions if your tub is just slightly higher than typical.  Also, there are companies that can customize a device to fit into your particular tub. please contact us if you need help with a custom solution.

Also, it should be noted that all tub transfer benches can be switch to be set up in either direction.  So, if you purchase a tub transfer bench and it is not facing the direction that you like – it can be changed.

If the user cannot do any transfers in the bathroom, there are a couple of products that provide access to the tub that do not requre transfers of any kind.  These are called Tub Slider systems:
picture of metal tub transfer bench Plastic Tub sliding system

These devices do not require the user to get up from the seat.  The user is rolled into the bathroom and the seat slides on rails into the tub.

I hope this article has been helpful to you.  If you have any questions about your particular situation and you need help choosing the right product, please contact us.

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About improveability

I am a rehab engineer trying to make the world a better place through assistive technology.
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