How Do Bath Lifts Work?
For many people, getting in and out of a bathtub can be quite the challenge, if not impossible. Due to the low nature of most home bathtubs, and the slick surface that can occur during use due to soap and water, getting in and out of the bath unaided can be difficult and dangerous for many individuals. This is where a bath lift comes into play. Bath lifts come in many different styles and sizes for various types of bathtubs, and can include features such as anti-slip base grips and secure straps for use with individuals who may be prone to move around when being lowered into the tub.
A bath lift is an assistive technology device that is made to help lower and raise individuals into and out of the bathtub comfortably and safely without putting additional strain on the user. They are usually made out of a mesh material to allow it to be used in the water without wear and tear, and are designed with two wings to extend over the edges of the tub when raised. Once the user is safely within the bath chair, it can be lowered to sit nearly flush with the base of the tub. When the bath is completed, the seat can be raised up again to help the individual easily leave the tub. This allows the user to enjoy their bath without concerns of slipping or falling when trying to exit the tub.
Bath chairs are primarily used with traditional bathtubs, and can allow individuals with limited mobility to enjoy the benefits of a bath that they may be otherwise unable to enter and exit without assistance. A bath chair is a worthwhile investment for anyone who has issues sitting or standing up from a low angle, or who finds entering and exiting the tub without the aid of another person impossible.
Oftentimes combined with other forms of in-home assistive bathroom technology, such as transfer chairs and wall bars, bath lift chairs can help make any home bathroom more accessible to individuals with disabilities, such as those who are wheelchair bound, or for people who may be less steady on their feet than they once were, such as for elders and individuals with knee or back problems. Bath lifts are also useful for individuals who may be the primary caretaker of a person with severe mobility issues or a cognitive impairment, and is looking for added safety for their ward while bathing, as well as ease of transportation from one location to another without fear of injury.
Bath chairs are a useful form of assistive care technology that can be used by any individual who finds it difficult to raise themselves out of or lower themselves into a bathtub, and is a cost-effective option for situations where a full bath upgrade, such as the installation of a standing bath, is not plausible. Here are some of the ways that a bath lift can help a wide range of individuals enjoy a nice, warm bath without fear of injury or other frustrating, and possibly painful, complications.
Who Can Benefit From a Bath Lift?
Bath lifts are useful for individuals with severe arthritis, as it can allow them to enjoy long soaks in the tub to help alleviate some of the discomfort in their joints, without causing themselves more strain by raising and lowering themselves into the tub. Due to the discomfort and mobility restrictions that can be caused by arthritis, getting in and out of the bath can become nearly impossible, and the struggle require to accomplish this task can outweigh the benefits. A bath chair can help ensure that the transfer process from one location to another is as smooth as possible, and can help take some of the stress off of your joints, allowing you to sit back and enjoy your bath.
Bath lifts are also useful for individuals who are wheelchair bound, or cannot easily stand up and place themselves in the bath. Most bath lifts can be raised to meet with either a wheelchair or a transfer chair, meaning that the move from one location to another is smooth and fluid. And, unlike a shower chair or other forms of shower-assistive tech, a bath chair does not require the installation of a removable shower head to be fully useful. A bath can help allow the individual to wash parts of their body easily that may have been difficult to reach in the shower, as well as provide a now easy to use source of relaxation after a long day.
Bath lifts can be incredibly helpful for people who are the sole or assistant care provider to an individual with more severe mental handicaps, where having them move unaided from one location to another is not plausible. A bath chair can be outfitted with securing straps to ensure that the individual in the chair does not fall off while being transferred. A bath chair can also help make sure that the person being bathed does not accidentally slide down into the water, which can be a large risk for the patient who is not fully aware of their surroundings. Bath lifts can make it easier to care for these individuals, as the caretaker doesn’t have to worry about the added risks that come from trying to bathe an individual with severe mental disabilities in a traditional bath tub.
Bath lift chairs can also be a good investment for individuals who are undergoing a temporary, but more long-term treatment, such as the recovery period after a hip replacement or knee surgery. They can allow the individual to continue to bathe as they would normally without putting additional strain on parts of the body that are currently healing. And in the case of a temporary injury or illness, a bath chair is not as large of an investment as a standing bath or other forms of permanent bathroom overhauls would be.
A bath chair may not be the right assistive technology for everyone, however. For some people, more permanent bathroom assistive technology options may work out better in the long run. Or they may be looking for other temporary bathroom assistive technology options to make their house more accessible for individuals with mobility issues. In these cases, other products may be needed to make any bathroom space more accessible.
Here is a YouTube video demonstrating the use of a bath lift chair:
Other Forms of Bathroom Assistive Technology
When it comes to bathroom assistive technology, most different kinds of tech are aimed at helping an individual get from one place to another easily. This includes things like transfer chairs, bath chairs, and wall handles. Transfer chairs are less specialized than bath chairs, and can be used to move an individual from one location to another in confined spaces. Transfer chairs are useful for moving from a wheelchair or seated walker to a secondary location, such as a toilet seat, a transportable commode, or a shower chair, and can be used to help a person get past the raised edge of a combination bath and shower device.
Wall bars are useful to help an individual who is capable of lowering themselves down to enter a tub or a shower, and can provide additional stability when moving through areas with a high fall potential, such as wet tiles or slick wooden flooring. Wall bars are most often installed on the outside of a tub or shower area, but can also be placed along the wall next to a toilet or sink area to aid an individual who may need added support complete these tasks. Wall bars can come in styles that are easy to attach and remove from the wall as needed, making them a versatile tool to aid with balance for individuals who have difficulty moving from one location to another.
Transportable commodes are useful for individuals who find themselves confined to one location, or who are unable to make it across the house or up a flight of stairs to use the bathroom. Transportable commodes are made to be easily set up in a discrete corner of a room so that the individual who is unable to make it across the house without assistance can still use the facilities in privacy and comfort. Transportable commodes come in many different styles, and can be combined with things like Roho cushions and collapsible screens for added comfort and privacy during use.
Other accessibility additions for both the home and the bathroom include shower chairs, while are made to be used in a shower to allow an individual to sit down while showering, and retractable shower heads, which can make it easier for an individual with limited mobility who is using a shower chair to wash various parts of their body unaided.
While many of these devices may seem simple in nature, with the added help of things like bath lifts, shower chairs, and wall bars, an individual with limited mobility can regain a large amount of freedom and confidence in their own home, and can protect themselves from possible fall risks and injuries at the same time.