Debbie Hartzler OTR/L, CAPS
Debbie Hartzler was recently asked, “I have watched my mother getting in and out of the bathtub and am concerned that she is going to fall. Is there anything I can do to make it safer for her to take her shower?”
Answer: There is good reason for concern over bathroom safety. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year 235,000 people over the age of 15 visit the emergency room because of injuries suffered in the bathroom. More than two-thirds occur while bathing or showering, and of those injuries, most happen while attempting to get in and out of the bathtub or shower.
Eliminating the need to step over tub walls and shower thresholds can dramatically decrease the risk for falls. There are a few ways to accomplish this. If a person is somewhat mobile and has available space, a tub transfer bench can be used. Water control can become an issue with these types of seats, and an adapted shower curtain should be placed through the gap in the bench.
For those who have mobility impairment and need assistance with transfers, the best and safest solution is to remove the tub or shower base and replace it with a low-barrier or barrier-free shower. This simple modification has a variety of benefits:
- It eliminates the likelihood of a fall being caused by hitting your leg or foot against the side of the tub wall or shower threshold.
- The additional floor space created allows for increased maneuverability for the individual and any caregiver who may be assisting.
- It improves the safety of individuals who need assistance with transfers by allowing enough space for a caregiver to firmly plant their feet on the ground in front of the client.
- It allows for the use of a rolling commode/shower chair.
Here at LifeWise Renovations®, we look forward to serving you however we can.
Contact us today for a consultation on which of our solutions is best for your distinct situation.