It is clear that a handicap accessible shower is immensely important as part of any accessible bathroom design where it will be used by a person with disabilities, an elderly person, someone with limited mobility through accident or illness or anyone who may have difficulty showering in a regular enclosure.
This article looks at the types of design considerations that go into manufacturing and installing a specially customized showering cubicle and how they can best be integrated into an existing bathroom design and layout as well as their primary uses by those that rely on them.
The first consideration when including a handicap shower stall into an existing bathroom design layout is the increased size of the unit. Because of the need to provide space for a wheelchair user to easily navigate in and out of the cubicle as well as leaving room for a shower chair, the physical size of a disabled shower has to be much larger than a regular one.
So when sizing a handicapped bathroom design you need to factor in the extra size of the handicapped shower enclosure.
Handicap Shower Installation
Once you have figured out your design and layout specifications, installing the unit should be relatively straight forward. Care should be observed in matching up drainage and waste pipes and fixed outlets and similarly hot and cold water points should match those of the shower stall.
Extra care should also be taken with regards to where the splashed water will go. Most specially designed handicapped showers will provide for a frontal drainage gully that will have a heavy duty grate to cover it so that a wheelchair can be rolled in and out smoothly with no lip or curb to bump over.
The drainage gully will then safely take excess water away without it going all over the bathroom floor.
Handicap Shower Accessories
As already mentioned, special access showers will almost all be fitted with a special seat for the user to sit on whilst showering. This is for the obvious reasons that many users may not be able to stand, at least not safely to use the cubicle.
This specialist ahowering chair will generally be made to withstand heavy weights and be very strong and robust without collapsing. It will be waterproof and made to withstand hot water and cleaning substances without corroding as well as being comfortable to use and at the correct height for the user.
Many are adjustable for height or can be specially manufactured to the user's own height and weight.
A heavy duty shower curtain that is resistant to flame, stains and static along with a suitably tough rail is usually recommended for this type of unit. This is because the wider opening will require a more robust curtain to keep the water in while a strong rail will support the weight of the curtain across the wider than normal opening.
Another important feature of wheelchair user designed showers is the grab rails that are fitted to the unit for assisting the movement, sitting and rising and transferring to and from the wheelchair of the user. These hand rails are essential for safety and mobility once inside the shower stall, so they are generally very strong and well anchored to be able to support the user.
This is all the more important for those users who are, for lack of exercise that their disability brings about, overweight.
Lastly, for convenience, most disbility friendly showers will be fitted with a pressure mixing valve to control the flow of water and maintain the water temperature. This is useful so that the user does not constantly have to keep fiddling about with it.
This is more especially if other people in the house turn on or off taps that may cause a drop or rise in water pressure and a corresponding change in temperature. Remember, a sudden rise in water temperature can scald the user which is extremely unpleasant and even dangerous.
A handicapped shower stall is not only a nice feature to have, in most cases it is a necessity and its importance cannot be understated to the user to enable them to be able to enjoy showering in comfort, safety and with dignity.