As we progress as a society, we are swiftly leaning away from a “one size fits all” approach to both public and private facilities, and the world is gradually becoming a more welcoming place for it. After all, every individual, whoever they are, has their own variety of access requirements – from simple preferences to vital necessities. One of the most obvious ways in which we can work towards the inclusion of all levels of mobility is in bathroom design. Adaptio is an established interior fittings brand specialising in accessible bathroom products and design. If you’re considering adapting your bathroom to be easier for those with a disability to use, read on to discover Adaptio’s expert advice on the subject of accessible bathrooms and the importance of their being embraced within interior development and planning.
Why Choose A Disabled Accessible Bathroom?
The most obvious reason for installing an accessible bathroom is that you, or members of your family or household, have a disability or handicap that restricts mobility. Fitting an accessible bathroom is one of the vital means you can use to ensure your home is as easy as possible to navigate. A typical non-adapted bathroom presents a multitude of obstacles to those with access needs, from a lack of support when standing up from the toilet, to a disabled shower without handrails or a seat, to a sink that is too high up to reach. It may be that a member of your family is struggling with any number of these issues, which may be easy to overlook if it does not affect you personally.
Then there is the matter of thinking long-term. It may be that an older family member or close friend is planning to move into your property in the future. This may currently seem like a straightforward development, but, if this individual has any particular access needs, you may find yourself in the midst of a last minute rush to prepare your home for their arrival, or even in the position that you need to be adapting things after they move in.
Also, if you are planning to remain in your current property indefinitely, there is the question of your own future physical ability. Our bodies change with age, and performing certain tasks can become more difficult without an element of assistance. While there are a variety of affordable options available, it may be worth investing in accessible fittings for your bathroom before your retirement instead of after, for your own peace of mind.
Finally, it is important to consider regular visitors to your home. You may have friends or relations with access needs who visit regularly, and who may find it difficult to use any of your bathroom fixtures, making elements of their time in your house a chore, or even an impossibility. Also, if you work from home and regularly welcome clients, this may be a two-tier issue as a lack of comfort may lead to a loss of business.
These are just a few reasons why you might consider adapting your bathroom to be more accessible. So what are your options if you decide to do so?
Bathroom Floor Plan and Design Ideas for those with a Handicap
There are a number of factors you should consider when beginning to plan your accessible bathroom. First of all, you need to decide whether you want your new fittings to cater to a specific set of access requirements, or if you would like to make them as comprehensive as possible. Depending on what you choose, you need to take a careful look at the space you have available – and your budget – before making any further plans. To make a bathroom floor plan wheelchair accessible, for example, the front of the toilet bowl and seat should be at least 1200mm away from any object or wall it faces. The path of a wheelchair – i.e. the route between objects that a wheelchair might need to pass between – has to be a minimum of 1500mm in width for safety, according to current government regulations. With this in mind, it’s important that you carefully measure the existing dimensions of your bathroom and decide whether or not it may be necessary to extend the room in order to fit all required items inside it. After you have taken these factors into account, it’s time to think about the fittings your new bathroom will need and where they should be placed. For wheelchair users, and those with difficulties sitting or standing, rails are an absolute necessity. Ideally, you need an L-shaped bar attached to the wall nearest the toilet, and a drop down bar should be fitted to the back wall on the other side. These should be at a height of 700mm from the floor. Sinks and wash-basins, towel racks, shelving and any other necessary amenities all need to be attached at the correct height for use by an individual with access requirements. Avoid creating corners, placing obstacles in positions that are difficult to manoeuvre around or making possible scenarios in which an individual could become trapped, such as a shower door opening too close to a toilet bowl or cistern. A clear wide run from the door of the bathroom right through to the other side is ideal.
The type of items you put in your bathroom is important to consider too. Some fittings are actually designed to assist in the easement of symptoms that tend to come with particular conditions and disabilities. Hydrotherapy baths, for example, use water jets as a form of massage to ease pain and stiffness in muscles and joints. There are also many other items that feature a basic design which renders them a better choice for those with access needs. Disabled wetrooms are far superior to showers when it comes to accessibility, for example, as there is nothing to step in and out of. It might also be a very good idea to consider a walk-in bath for the same reason.
Types of Walk in Baths and Showers
If you’re considering fitting an accessible bathroom for the first time, you may be feeling a little daunted when it comes to the sheer number of options available in terms of accessories and fixtures. Everywhere you turn there seems to be a different item offering myriad various benefits and features. So where should you start? To make it a little easier, Adaptio have put together a short list of the different types of walk in baths and walk in showers you can choose from, helping you towards your first decision and setting you on your way towards selecting the next item.
- Basic “Soaker” Bathtub
This is a straightforward option with a number of extremely helpful built in features. The bottom of the tub is treated with non-slip texturing for extra safety and ease of movement, the drains are designed to function more quickly than those in a non-accessible bath to allow the user to open the door for a faster exit if necessary, handrails are fitted at convenient points to assist in changing positions or getting in and out, and the design incorporates a comfortable seat.
- Wheelchair Accessible Bathtub
If you are choosing a tub for a wheelchair user, it is vital that there is no step or “threshold” between the bathroom floor and the inside of the tub, as this type of obstacle makes it particularly difficult for a wheelchair to enter in order to allow the user to transfer to the bath’s built in seat. This particular type of tub features a wider door than the basic soaker tub.
- Hydrotherapy Bathtub
Jacuzzi or whirlpool designs are available for therapeutic use by those who struggle with the painful symptoms of arthritis or the muscle and joint pains that are associated with various other conditions or injuries. The use of water jets in a whirlpool bath effectively massage affected areas and also help to relieve psychological stress and assist in relaxation. The jets are often heated too, meaning the water stays warm for the duration of the bathing session. Other hydrotherapy features include deeper tubs to allow for full body immersion as well as physiotherapy and rehabilitation accessories – such as underwater treadmills – which allow the user to perform gentle exercise while the weight of their body is supported by the water.
- Bariatric Bathtub
Bariatric bathtubs are specially designed for use by heavier individuals. A wider door and sturdy, reinforced seat are a few of the options available.
- Aerotherapy Bathtub
One extremely beneficial option is the addition of aerotherapeutic features. Aerotherapy involves the harnessing of the air within a space for medical purposes, and there are accessible baths available with features designed for this particular type of treatment. A bathroom fixture of this kind can be exceptionally useful for respiratory and sinus problems.
- Sit-in Bathtub
For those who struggle to stay sitting up in the average bath, a sit-in bath might just be the perfect alternative. It’s much shorter than a typical tub, so there’s no danger of sliding down.
- Corner Shower
A regular accessible corner shower features a large sliding door, handrails, a comfortable and sturdy seat or stool and non-slip treatment on the shower floor. This may be the preferred option for those who have difficulty getting into a bathtub or sitting for extended periods of time.
- Wet Room Shower
This option is perfect for individuals who require more space, such as wheelchair users. A disabled wet room is like a small anteroom off the bathroom, the entirety of which is designed to serve as a shower cubicle. Different door options are available, there is enough room inside to fit plenty of equipment such as seats and handrails, and it’s far easier for the user to towel dry without having to navigate their way out of a restricting bath or typical shower.
Of course, there are combinations of many of the above designs available, such as a showerhead-over-walk in bath arrangement or a basic soaker with optional hydrotherapy features. It’s up to you to decide on the model that best suits your unique needs.
Disabled Bathroom Before and After
Adaptio offers a free design service that allows you to see the potential transformation for yourself. A 3D photorealistic image is generated by the specialists after a consultation at which you can also be guided through your options and assisted in making design decisions if there are any matters about which you are undecided or unsure. This will be shown to you alongside a fully dimensional, itemised floor plan that includes any necessary additional comments or suggestions. This service offers you peace of mind, so you can begin to arrange your bathroom fitting knowing exactly how the result will look and function.
How Much Does A Disabled Bathroom Cost?
The price of installing your adapted bathroom can vary quite substantially depending on your individual requirements. If you simply opt for an accessible toilet, typical prices start between £100 and £200, while a walk-in bath usually costs upward of £500. The easiest way to calculate the exact cost of your project is to ask for a quote from the specialist you are considering. Adaptio offers a low price guarantee, promising to match all official like-for-like quotations from reputable stockists within the UK. If HMRC has declared you VAT exempt due to a disability, you can save still more on your purchases, so be sure to fill in a VAT Exemption Declaration Form before you order!
Whether you’re interested in finding out a little more about the accessible bathroom fixtures available through Adaptio or keen to discuss their services further, you simply need to visit www.adaptio.co.uk today. You can request a free brochure, a home visit from a specialist and even a free design and 3D visualisation service either via their website, by calling 0333 3209 660, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can contact the team, all of whom are experts in the field, seven days a week. They will be very happy to assist by answering any questions you may have.