Shower Chair – Definition
Shower Chair Freedom
Bathroom Safety With the Shower Chair
Which Shower Chair Is Best?
- Value for money i.e. is built from durable, high strength materials such as aluminum and stainless steel. There are numerous shower chairs available constructed from steel with epoxy paint coatings. Anything constructed of steel and used in wet environments will break down and show signs of rusting over time. Rust is also a structural weakening problem on steel frames, so safety will be compromised.
- The shower chair must-have safety features like all 4 castors locking, to allow safe transfers from the bed to chair. Castors should be 5″ (125mm) not smaller as smaller castors do not run as well and can make maneuvering over thresholds etc difficult. Check that the shower chair runs smoothly without the castors wobbling.
- Caregivers and users should ‘like’ the shower chair. It must be easy to use for the carer and comfortable for the user, after all, they are going to spend some time in that shower chair each day.
- By ‘liking’ the shower chair I refer to the overall impression, the first impression of the shower chair by the carer and user. I personally find that too many shower chairs are hospital like in color and appearance. I would not want a black, grey, totally white, or chrome chair. Some color brightens the day and removes that clinical look while still performing the same functions. An example of using color can be seen in the Showerbuddy shower chairs that contain splashes of orange color with the orange parts also generally being adjustable.
- A commode system must be incorporated and the shower chair must be able to roll over the toilet.
- The shower chair should be fully adjustable in seat height to suit the user, the footrests should fold away and be removable and be height adjustable. Armrests should be lockable when in the down position to allow the user to balance and anchor against if they need to – plus be able to be folded out of the way or removed totally if required during side transfers.
- If you chose a tilting shower chair (and I thoroughly recommend this) the tilt option should be infinitely variable from a minimum of zero degrees to 30 degrees. The tilt option is best controlled by locking struts rather than mechanical adjustment pins etc. Also, make sure that any tilt option is smooth in operation and includes a safety stop, in the event of a failure the user will only go back to the safety stop, not topple right back.
- Any shower chair with a tilt function must have a fully adjustable neck rest to support the user’s neck and head.
- All of the above features of a mobile shower chair.
- With transfer systems, it is imperative that the structural design of the rolling chair base, the transfer tracks, and the tub base unit is of the highest specification. There are numerous systems available today that have been designed around cost, not the safety of the user. The user must be safe during the transfer and some systems look and feel less than secure, having vertical leg supports without transverse or horizontal bars to stabilize the units during transfers. I don’t see these units as offering safety or security or a long term economic viability.
- The system should also have a tilt function to lift the user’s legs as they transfer/slide over the tub.
- A safe and sturdy base unit that fits into the tub, with a side stabilizer system to suit any width tub, yet easy to remove and store allowing the tub to be used by able-bodied users.
- A full-height adjustable tub base unit.
- There are satisfactory non-tilting transfer systems available. The only issue being the carer has to lift the user’s legs over the tub as they slide over. Make sure that the user has a footrest in the tub after they have been transferred. Not all systems include this feature and it can be very uncomfortable for the user without foot support in the tub.