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How To Create A Wheelchair Accessible Bathroom | More Ability

25 November 2020

With a variety of wheelchair sizes available and an even wider range of accessible sanitary ware, we understand it can often be confusing as to which bathing solution is right for you and or a loved one.

This guide breaks down wheelchair sizes, bathroom adaptation requirements for wheelchair use and the best bathing options from disabled showers to disabled basins.


Wheelchair Sizes

There are two main types of manual wheelchairs - self-propelled and attendant-propelled. Self-propelled wheelchairs allow the user to push or propel themselves along whilst attendant propelled wheelchairs are designed to be easily manoeuvred by somebody pushing the wheelchair.

Whichever you require, it’s essential to choose the right wheelchair size to assist with comfort and ease of use.

The Standard wheelchair dimensions are:

Seat height: 19.5”
Wheelchair height: 36”
Wheelchair width: 25” (approximate)

Wheelchair Height

An important factor for comfort, the width of a wheelchair seat will determine how the user is positioned within the wheelchair. If the width is too wide for the size of the user it can lead to unwanted seat position changes and poor posture. If the width is too narrow it can lead to movement restrictions and a risk of pressure sores.

Wheelchair seat widths are typically available in 16”, 18” and 20”. The standard overall wheelchair width is approximately 25”.

Wheelchair Width

An important factor for comfort, the width of a wheelchair seat will determine how the user is positioned within the wheelchair. If the width is too wide for the size of the user it can lead to unwanted seat position changes and poor posture. If the width is too narrow it can lead to movement restrictions and a risk of pressure sores.

Wheelchair seat widths are typically available in 16”, 18” and 20”. The standard overall wheelchair width is approximately 25”.

Wheelchair Accessible Bathrooms.

Upon choosing the most comfortable wheelchair for your needs, the next step to consider is the suitability of your bathroom.

When designing your bathroom suite, we recommend you follow the guidelines of Document M. Taking into consideration the standard wheelchair dimensions, Doc M recommends bathrooms need to have enough floor space for a full 360 degree turn of a standard wheelchair which is 1500mm x 1500mm.

We also recommend the installation of outward opening doors, as inward opening doors will need to be accounted for with additional bathroom space. The width of the door entrance will also need to be a minimum of 32” to allow for easy access of a standard sized wheelchair.


Wheelchair Accessible Shower Options.

If don’t want to renovate your entire suite the installation of a disabled shower can help you and or a loved one to bathe with ease. There are two main shower solutions we recommend for wheelchair users:

Disabled Showers

Wheelchair accessible disabledshowers consist of a level access non-slip shower tray and wide outward opening doors that typically open from a central point. They are large in size allowing ease of entry and movement for the wheelchair user.


Disabled Wet Rooms

A disabled wet room turns your entire suite into a showering space. They often consist maintenance free accessible wall boards and anti-slip vinyl flooring. Similar to disabled showers they provide level access entry and a large enough showering space for a range of wheelchair sizes.


Shower Safety Features

In addition to suite access, entry and space requirements. The following safety features are also found in a shower room adapted for wheelchair users:

  • Fitted grab bars for additional bathing support.
  • A fixed cushioned shower seat with arm support providing additional comfort.
  • An emergency pull cord to assist with independent bathing.
  • A thermostatically controlled shower mixer to help to avoid any burns or scalding.

Wheelchair Accessible Sanitary Ware

Upon considering size and layout of your bathroom the next step is installation of wheelchair accessible sanitary ware.

Wheelchair Accessible Toilets

Raised Height Toilets

Not having to lower yourself to sit down on a standard toilet, raised height toilets can help wheelchair users to comfortably move from wheelchair to toilet seat and are often accompanied by the installation of folding grab rails for extra safety.

Wash And Dry Toilets

Great for those who struggle with mobility, washand dry toilets are not only taller in height but also use air and water to clean and dry your intimate areas from the touch of a button.


Wheelchair Accessible Basins

Fixed Height Basins

Ideal for solo use bathrooms, fixed height basins are permanently fit to a comfortable height for wheelchair user. There is also additional room around the basin were bathroom amenities can be easily accessed in the form of accessible bathroom storage.

Rise And Fall Basins

Best suited for multi-use bathrooms, a rise and fall disabled basin can be adjusted to suit the height of the user through the touch of a button.


If you or a loved one is wanting to adapt your bathroom in order to improve the safety and bathing capability for a wheelchair user book a free design appointment online today. Alternatively, you call to speak to a friendly member of our team or visit one of our disabled showrooms located in Leeds and Harrogate

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