Are you making these wheelchair accessible bathroom mistakes?

Are you making these wheelchair accessible bathroom mistakes?
March 21, 2018 Felicity Anderson

Are you making these wheelchair accessible bathroom mistakes?

If you need a wheelchair accessible bathroom, for yourself or another user, then don’t make any of the common accessibility mistakes.

The bathroom is one of the most important and widely used rooms in the home but it’s also one of the most dangerous, particularly if you’re suffering from reduced mobility or flexibility.

Safety is the ultimate goal when making your bathroom more accessible, so read below to learn whether you are making these wheelchair accessible bathroom mistakes.

Making your bathroom wheelchair accessible

There are lots of reasons why you may want to make your bathroom useable and safe for wheelchair users.

Perhaps you use a wheelchair yourself, or you are thinking about the future and preparing your home for getting older.

Since not every bathroom is made for wheelchair accessibility, it might be best to consult with a renovation company about your bathroom design.

These five key questions will help you avoid any common mistakes when considering your new layout or upgrade:

Five key bathroom accessibility questions

  • What bathroom activities will your user need assistance with?
  • Are there medical supplies necessary and where should they be placed?
  • Is a bath or shower preferred?
  • What activities does a user do independently where grab bars should be placed?
  • Will users condition deteriorate over time and what will users’ needs be in the future?

Do you know the most hazardous areas in your bathroom?

Familiarising yourself with the most hazardous areas in your bathroom will help mitigate the danger and ensure that is safe for wheelchair users or those with reduced mobility.

The bath and shower are reportedly the most hazardous areas for young adults and most falls for elderly people occur near the toilet.

Falls in the bathroom are often due to a wet floor, small spaces to manoeuvre and bending and lifting required in accessing the bath, shower or toilet.

Keep these hazards in mind as you plan your bathroom and, if possible, put design features in place, to help avoid these issues.

Have you thought about adapting your bathroom as your requirements change?

Think about the future when adapting a space to make a wheelchair accessible bathroom.

Your needs, or the needs of the user, may change over time and so it’s helpful to incorporate fixtures and fittings that can be easily modified to accommodate these changes.

Grab rails, for example, can be purchased with flexibility in mind, incorporating horizontal and vertical tracks, allowing the elements to be moved around and adjusted in height, as required.

Do you have enough space for wheelchair access?

Bathrooms are typically short on space but if you want yours to be wheelchair accessible then you’ll need to consider space for turning.

The bathroom needs free space of at least 1500 mm, so a wheelchair can turn 360 degrees. There also needs to be free space of at least 1200 mm in front of the toilet bowl.

Do you have enough rails in your bathroom?

Grab rails need to be incorporated into your bathroom, with at least three strong rails around the toilet for holding, plus strong rails around the bath and shower.

For more information on how your rails should be positioned see here for tips.

Are you making these wheelchair accessible bathroom mistakes?

Have you checked the height of your washbasin?

Your wash basin will have to be lowered to sit at about 800 mm above the floor, but this can be customised according to the height of the person using the sink while in their wheelchair.

Adjustable height washbasins can be set at any height, as opposed to the more common conventional pedestal basins, which are typically fixed height.

Some have their height set at the time of installation, others are manually operated, or power-assisted within a manufacturers range.

Have you considered the toilet in your wheelchair accessible bathroom?

A wall-hung model toilet can be mounted at a height that is customised for the user, also think about the positioning of the toilet paper dispenser and ensure that it’s at a comfortable height that is forward of the toilet bowl.