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How to Make Your Bathroom Safe and Accessible



Bathroom injuries account for more than 230,000 hospitalizations among U.S. citizens per year. To help combat this epidemic, Rehab Medical is joining the nation’s bathroom safety month, observed every January, by offering a few tips and tricks on how to make your bathroom safe and accessible for anyone regardless of their mobility condition.


Simple and Easy Ways to Promote Bath Safety

  • Conduct Routine Inspections

    • The bathroom is one of the most highly used rooms in the home, so it is prone to rapid wear and tear. Conducting regular inspections, whether it be weekly or monthly, can help to minimize bath hazards. During these inspections you want to check for floor hazards, such as loose tiles, slippery surfaces, and threshold obstructions. When it comes to the tub or shower, make sure the surface is equipped with slip-resistant materials. Older homes typically have porcelain or ceramic type tubs which are hazardous for someone with limited mobility. If you have a porcelain or ceramic tub you can easily remedy this situation with grippers or slip-resistant adhesive tape. You should avoid shower mats as they don’t always have a strong grip or stability. You’ll also want to check smoke alarms and electrical outlets to ensure they are working properly.

  • If Applicable, Install Grab Bars or Handrails

    • Grab bars or handrails have proven to be one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of falls, but they can also create a lot of additional if not installed correctly. Before installing consider your space first. Will you have enough space to adequately move around the bathroom after installing a grab bar? Can it support the full weight of the person who will be the primary user? If you can’t install grab bars, changing out your shower head to a handheld one can alleviate some of the challenges of getting in and out of the tub. Just make sure to have a solution for the disposal of the water.

  • Organize and Declutter the Bathroom

    • One of the most common things people don’t think about is clutter on the floor. For an abled bodied individual, clutter on the floor can easily be avoided by stepping over or moving in a different direction but for those with mobility challenges, clutter can pose potential life-threatening issues. Consider keeping the floors clear of debris and ensuring rugs or floor mats are slip resistant.

 

If you are or are becoming a full-time caregiver for an aging loved one, you may want to consider more advanced bathroom enhancements to make everyone’s lives easier. A lot of responsibility comes with being a full-time caregiver and being able to alleviate some of that responsibility by making the right modifications can go a long way.


It’s best to reach out to a certified ADA renovation expert for tips on how to modify your unique bathroom. However, while you wait to hear back from the experts, here are a few things to get you thinking about before you have that discussion.


  • Use Free Floating Vanities

    • Free floating vanities allow for mobility users to easily access the sink to do basic things such as washing their hands or brushing their teeth without the assistance of a caregiver.

  • Make Sure Faucets are Lever-Controlled or Hands-Free

    • If you are caring for someone that has low dexterity in their hands, it can be difficult for them to do something as simple as turning on a faucet. Stay away from knob, push, or any faucet that requires turning. It’s safe to stick with a sink faucet that requires less hand strength to operate.

  • Get A Low Threshold Walk-In Shower

    • Most tubs or showers have raised threshold to help keep the water in but for someone with mobility issues, it makes it difficult for them to bathe themselves. Having a low threshold shower or tub will allow them to roll in and out easily on their own. And if you installed a handheld shower head, they have even more independence with bathing.

  • Round Off Countertop Corners

    • Rounded countertops can prevent accidental digs and can allow mobility users to get in and out of the bathroom independently.

  • Install Offset Door Hinges

    • This is ideal for mobility users who need a little extra space to get their wheelchair through the door. By installing these offset door hinges, it removes the added space in the entryway, making way for wheelchairs to get in and out smoothly.

  • Relocate Plugs to Be Eye Level

    • It can be difficult to bend over for anyone who struggles with mobility. Being able to move things like plugs can help someone be more independent with their bathroom needs.

 

We hope these were valuable and helped you to understand the importance of bath safety. As with any major home renovations, it’s always best to check with an expert before conducting your own DIY renovations.

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