As a bathroom mobility company, we’ve dedicated our efforts to truly understanding what the challenges are that individuals, their families and their carers face in the bathroom, using this to inform our range of products, accessories and award-winning app BathCheck.
It’s quite common for new Showerbuddy users to have come from a long list of other chairs and transfer solutions that simply didn’t suffice. In this article we provide 10 reasons why upgrading to a good shower chair and bathroom mobility solution is worth considering:
1. Safer transfer
One of the riskiest parts of using the bathroom with a significant mobility impairment is getting into the shower or bathtub – and out again. Awkward spaces, hard edges and wet surfaces is a recipe for accidents without good equipment to reduce the load on manual, physical assistance.
Poor quality shower chairs rarely take care of the transfer at all, meaning that arguably the riskiest stage is completely down to the strength and technique of a carer – which is sometimes a family member. Low quality solutions that provide a transfer typically handle this with a basic bench that may help clear the edge but still requires significant help and strength of someone else or the upper body strength of the individual.
Upgrading to a shower chair solution that takes care of the transfer almost entirely through the function of the equipment – and not those operating it – will greatly reduce the chances of transfer-related injury.
2. Easier transfer
Beyond the safety aspect of transferring is the ease. It’s normal for a person with significant mobility impairments to bathe two or more times a day.
With a shower chair that doesn’t help the transfer process, there’s a large degree of effort and time expended in safely carrying the individual into the bathtub or shower unit. This time mounts up – and anyone who helps care for a family member with a disability knows that there’s no shortage of jobs to be done – often concurrently.
If these struggles sound like something you’re encountering, consider looking for a better alternative that handles the transfer.
3. Safer bathing
Once inside the bathtub or shower unit, a mobility impaired individual still faces a number of risks. There is the constant possibility of losing balance and slipping or falling. Without full control and strength of one’s body, a tap can be knocked onto a dangerous temperature. There are many edges and angles that can cause serious injury.
A poor quality shower chair often fails to securely keep the user in place and protected from slips and falls. They may also lack the grip and stability in the feet and legs that can simply give way or slip creating a high chance of injury.
These risks simply aren’t worth taking. Upgrading to a chair that offers excellent security of the user in a seated position as well as reassuring stability against a shower or bath walls and floor is something that we think everyone should prioritise.
4. Get a stronger frame
The frame of a shower chair makes a big difference. First, it’s what keeps the structure together and stable for daily use. It needs to enable all components like seat and backrest securely affixed at all times. It also needs to be rust-resistant under heavy water duress every day.
Surprisingly, many low quality shower chairs don’t offer frames that are built to last. Any warping, bending or corrosion represents a safety risk to anyone that sits on the chair. By upgrading to a chair with a frame built from high quality materials and manufactured to exacting standards, individuals and their families are given better peace of mind that the equipment they rely on for safe bathing is up for the task. Look for an option that guarantees the frame for a long period of time – or even for life.
5. Improve seated comfort
When you’re sitting down to bathe, there’s no question that comfort is a really important factor. Any seat should aim to provide both comfort and stability.
Quite incredibly however, are the number of low quality shower chairs that are simply unpleasant to sit on. Many are simply moulded low-grade plastic. The design of the seat often isn’t shaped to accommodate different sizes and statures. When compromises are made on the seat quality and design, it’s not just uncomfortable to sit on; it can create sores and muscle pains – or even slow down recovery or rehabilitation.
By upgrading to a shower chair that offers a soft, supportive cushion atop the seat, users can not just get stability with bathing but enjoyment. At Showerbuddy we treat ‘enjoyment’ of bathing with as much importance as anything else. The bathroom routine should be pleasant and relaxing for everyone, regardless of their mobility.
6. Better adjustment on body position
A big complaint about cheap or even expensive but poorly designed shower chairs is the fact that users need to work around the equipment, instead of the equipment accommodating different users’ needs. We think this is wrong.
Assistive devices are only doing their job properly if they can support users without compromising comfort. Some shower chair designs are such that mobility impaired users need to position themselves in a way that’s not comfortable. This can even lead to pain.
If a shower chair doesn’t adjust, then it may be worth exploring other options. Depending on the model you can find shower chairs that can be adjusted at the backrest, feet rests, neck and even have the seating angle tilted.
7. Better fit for your bathroom
With the millions of bathrooms across the globe, there’s a relatively small percentage that offer optimal dimensions to accommodate a mobility impaired person, their carer and any assistive equipment. The issue with many shower chairs is that they’re manufactured as one standard size, and lack the refinement that makes them tough to fit in a compact bathroom or shower unit.
If the shower chair can’t be accessed and used safely, it’s important to move to a solution that can be. Upgrading to a chair that fits the dimensions of your bathroom and allows carer access is key to making the whole bathroom experience enjoyable again. Solutions like Showerbuddy offer a high level of adjustment and customisation to achieve the perfect fit.
8. Long term durability and function
What good is a shower chair if it’s not going to work in the long term?
For very minor support needs or short term light support it may be workable to get away with a cheap quality shower chair. But for any significant mobility impairment, it’s important to opt for a solution that's up to the rigours of daily use. The chair must be able to withstand constant, shifting and heavy weight distribution. It also needs to do this whilst remaining totally water resistant. The fittings that hold the chair together and in position must remain tight and reliable.
If the current chair you, your family member or your client is using doesn’t meet these needs, it may be time to upgrade to something that does.
Changing the chair isn’t simply a matter of adjusting height and angle. Sometimes a user will need additional support in the form of add ons or alternative parts. It’s unlikely you’ll find a low quality solution that offers add-on accessories. If it does, the reliability of these and the ease of adding them leaves a lot to be desired.
Imagine you’re a user that has a serious neck injury and can’t hold your head up alone. With a standard mass produced shower chair, this support is simply not there. Or perhaps a user is smaller in stature and needs the dimensions shrunk down to be comfortable. Maybe there’s lateral support needed to safely bathe.
Upgrading to a proper sophisticated bathroom solution like Showerbuddy gives users access to all these methods of customisation. The chair becomes tailored to the individual’s needs.
10. Conduct all bathroom activities in the one chair
Showerbuddy is a one-chair solution that provides support during the entire bathroom routine. Whether it’s using the toilet, showering, drying or washing up in the basin, the user doesn’t need to leave their comfortable seated position.
The reality is that poor quality shower chairs don’t offer this versatility. They’ll provide a seat to sit in the shower, and even then the experience is sub-par. For any user that wants a complete bathroom mobility solution, it’s worth considering an upgrade to something fit for the task.
REHACARE.com; Source: Showerbuddy