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Many people take the relaxing routine of showering for granted, but for those with disabilities, taking a shower can be a difficult activity. A shower can become a daunting and dangerous ordeal for people with disabilities as well as the caregiver helping with the bathing routine. The bathroom is notoriously known for being the most dangerous room in the home, injuring thousands of able-bodied persons annually. The elderly, those with mobility limitations, or other disabilities are at an even higher risk of slipping or having an injury inside the bathroom. Fortunately, innovative home medical equipment and other assistive technology is being invented and perfected to minimize these risks.
One example of a specialized piece of equipment is a shower wheelchair. Shower wheelchairs were designed specifically for helping disabled and handicap users to safely take a shower while remaining seated. These wheelchairs very in design to specifically address the needs of the user so they are supported and can sit comfortably.
Features of a Shower Wheelchair
A Shower Wheelchair is specially designed for individuals who have limited or restricted mobility such as people who have acute or chronic disabilities, the elderly, post-op patients, paraplegics and quadriplegics. A shower wheelchair should be rust-resistant and durable so that it can be used inside the shower or bathroom.
Some of the different features that may include:
– A drop-arm to help making transfers easier.
– Footrests can be adjustable for comfort. Additionally, some footrest swing away allowing easier access when transferring to the wheelchair.
– Seats come in different materials and shapes for added comfort. Padded seats may be chosen for added comfort. Seats that have cutouts may allow for easier access for cleaning all parts of the body.
– Wheel sizes from small to large. Shower Wheelchair with small caster wheels are compact and convenient, but do require a caregiver to push the person. Some shower wheelchair come with large rear wheels to allow the user to self propel themselves in the shower.
– Tilt-back wheelchairs offer a reclining position for added comfort.
Empowerment from the Shower Wheelchair
Showering is generally a private and intimate activity for a person. Unfortunately, if you lose mobility or develop a severe illness, you may no longer be able to safely bathe yourself. Too often people resort to bad baths or sponge baths because the idea of lifting a person over a tub edge creates anxiety for both the user and caretaker. Transferring someone in a wet environment can be just as dangerous for the caregiver who may try to bear the person’s weight during a fall. A shower wheelchair eliminates the transfer in a wet environment. The transfer can be conducted where both the user and the caregiver feel most comfortable, usually bedside. Then the user can easily roll in a shower, remain seated, and enjoy a real shower experience. That act of showering can be very empowering for the user. It will help their body stay cleaner and minimize the risk of infection. The warm water will soothe their joints and muscles. A sense of dignity is restored when they can comfortably enjoy a true shower experience again.
With so many shower wheelchairs on the market to choose from, be sure to do the research to find the one that best fits your needs. Ask your Occupational Therapist, complex rehab equipment specialist, or Shower Bay to learn what shower wheelchair options are available.