7 November 2018
When designing a bathroom for a disabled user, safety is paramount. Statistically, one third of people over the age of 65 tend to slip or fall in the bathroom at least once a year and of all the falls in the home, 80% happen in the bathroom.
It can be a troublesome area for sure, and combined with mobility issues, a physical impairment or a disability, the risk of an accident occurring only increases.
Through careful planning, knowledgeable product selection and proper consideration of designs suitable for disabled users, these risks can be significantly reduced. The result? A safe space that permits independent bathing and complete peace of mind for the user and their loved ones.
Although there are various types of disabled baths available, these products don’t tend to be the most suitable. The beauty of a disabled wet room, or any wet room for that matter, is that they’re typically purpose built, designed to meet the individual wants, needs and requirements of the user while offering an ideal solution if you need to make a small bathroom suitable for a disabled user.
As they’re level access, a disabled wet room is perfect if you require wheelchair accessibility, and can be enclosed with a screen, shower curtain and even half height doors for assisted washing. Completely future-proof, you can rest assured that in the event of any health-related deterioration, a disabled wet room has you covered.
There are a number of basin options that will compliment a disabled bathroom design. First and foremost, we would always suggest a wall hung design as this would allow for sit down use or, depending on other bathroom users, a height adjustable rise and fall unit.
Rise and fall basins can be raised and lowered to a height difference of approximately 450mm meaning a user can remain stood upright, eliminating the need to bend, or use the basin seated and in a wheel chair, for example.
When it comes to disabled toilets there are a few considerations which will help influence the solution you choose. As a starting point you want to consider a raised height WC, also known as a comfort height WC, which has been specifically designed to make getting on and off easier.
If you require a little more assistance you may want to explore your options for shower toilets and auto wash and dry bidets. Specifically designed to eliminate the need for manual cleaning, these specialist self-cleaning disabled toilets are commonly taller in height, making getting on and off easier, and are the bespoke system of choice for people who struggle cleaning themselves.
There are a number of key safety elements like grab bars, shower seats and lever taps that can be installed as part of the wider project or added at a later date if and when required that ensure your bathroom is designed with safety and functionality in mind.
Simple but effective, grab bars come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colours and materials and can be installed around key fixtures and fittings to increase safety and ease of use. This specific safety feature once screamed "institutional", but through recent innovations we’ve seen a large increase in the variety of grab bar solutions available, meaning they no longer look unappealing.
Built in benches, mobile stools, fixed chairs and folding wall seats are a handful of the options available to you with regards to installing seating for your disabled wet room. A generously proportioned built in bench is without a doubt easier on the eye than a shower chair. However, the final choice will depend on the user and their individual requirements.
With regards to choosing your taps, you may want to opt for modern brassware as it tends to be a singular output with a lever to distinguish between hot and cold. This completely eradicates the need to grip and turn a handle, which can be a huge bonus for those that suffer from reduced sensation in their hands. A thermostatically controlled anti-scold mixer will ensure a constant temperature.
Non-slip floor and wall coverings help you avoid slips in the bathroom, as well as giving the space some personality. There’s no need for the bathroom to look clinical, as there’s a wide range of options available when it comes to patterns, textures and colours. These coverings are a great opportunity to give your bathroom design some extra flair!
By considering these key design areas, you can ensure that the bathroom is fully suitable for disabled users. Feel free to get in touch with us for more information on disabled bathroom design ideas!
More Ability, part of the Passmore Group, is Yorkshires leading and most experienced bath & shower room specialist for all types of stylish, safe & practical and bespoke solutions. Offering a fully project managed design & installation service we pride ourselves on meeting individual wants, needs and aspirational requirements for both the public & private sector.