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Disabled bathroom aids - Selection guide

Disabled bathroom aids - Selection guide

The main task of high-quality disabled bathroom aids is to ensure people with mobility impairments self-sufficiency during their daily routine.

As in public housing there are specific rules to apply and thus help disabled people to use public toilets (Presidential Decree 503 of 24th July 1996 on the removal of architectural barriers), we can do a lot also in a private context to make daily use of the toilet, bidet, shower, and bathtub perfectly safe and normal for the disabled.

Let us see what is needed to make sure that even the smallest experience of those who suffer from movement and gait disorder do not become real challenges in the bathroom.

Sanitary ware for disabled persons: what characteristics must they have?

In the interest of ensuring daily personal care in full freedom, sanitary ware for disabled persons must be comfortable and tested for supporting even heavy weights.

Generally, toilets for disabled persons are higher compared to the standard ones and feature a central split that has a double function: first it facilitates personal hygiene and second it helps to better distribute the weight of the body. The hinges of the seat must also be secure. They are often made of stainless steel to offer greater stability and ensure a good hold of the seat cover so that it will not go off axis with normal use.

It is also essential to think about the installation of special grab rails which are very useful to hold onto while moving and thus avoiding accidental falls. The grab rails can also be drop-down, so that they can be placed against the wall when not needed.

A shower or bathtub for the disabled?

In a disabled bathroom a shower or bathtub which we cannot do without, must comply to special requirements.

In the first case, the shower should be large enough to allow the installation of a folding seat on the wall to be opened while bathing. Thus, the user will be able to wash himself independently and safely.

The shower tray should be mounted flush to the floor to facilitate entering the shower area.

Handlebars should always be positioned because they facilitate the elderly and disabled when getting into or out of the shower.

Glass enclosures should be avoided to optimize the safety levels inside the shower. Better to replace them with a shower curtain.

On the contrary, if you opt for the installation of a bathtub, make sure that it has a leak-proof door to allow easy access even for people who have movement and gait disorders. It is also possible to place a folding stool over the edge of a common bathtub which can be removed with extreme ease if necessary, to make bathing easier.

Characteristics of the washbasin for disabled persons

In a bathroom for disabled persons, an ergonomic washbasin should be chosen. It must be larger than the standard ones and without a pedestal.

The special shape of the bowl is designed to allow the use of the washbasin even while seated on a wheelchair thanks to the hollow under the basin. The wall installation method and the absence of the pedestal underneath the sink which can be a big obstacle, make the sink easily accessible.

Additionally, on the sides of the washbasin there must be handle bars to allow the person with mobility impairments to hold on while at the sink: some models of ergonomic washbasins have a grab rail all around but alternatively, it is possible to buy handlebars separately and fasten them to the wall.

An adjustable mirror above the washbasin is highly recommended because it allows the users to look at themselves while combing their hair, shaving, or putting on make-up even if they are sitting on a wheelchair.