An in-home safety consultation is a critical step in the purchase process for a walk in tub or walk in shower. The right advice from an experienced bathroom safety consultant will help you purchase the right accessible bathing solution option based on your needs and home configuration. A bathroom safety consultant will assess a wide range of aspects related to construction, lifestyle and bathing preferences of user(s) before making a recommendation for a walk in tub or walk in shower purchase. Some key points he/she will consider:
The safety consultant considers not only the layout of the bathroom where the installation will take place, but rather the entire home layout. He/she starts by looking at your front door. Does your front door have the required width to allow for a walk in tub or walk in shower fit into your home? What other barriers are present in the house to bring the walk in tub or walk in shower into your bathroom, namely stairs, narrow doors, etc.
Bathroom configuration and plumbing set up
These are key elements to consider. An experienced consultant will look at door direction; that is if it swings open inward or outward. To ensure complete bathroom functionality and a barrier-free access, the consultant may recommend modifications to door direction. This is particularly important for bathers in a wheelchair who need an easy transfer in and out of the walk in tub or walk in shower.
Door width is another important element to consider. Will the walk in tub or shower fit through the door? Can a stretcher, in case it is needed, go through the door? A door is generally 24″ wide while a wheelchair is 28″ wide and a walker is 26″ wide. An experienced safety consultant will determine what specific modifications are required to ensure total accessibility in the bathroom area. In our experience, we have recommended door modifications to enlarge door width to a minimum of 32″ wide. A 36″ wide door would be the ideal scenario in this case.
Placement of bathroom fixtures and plumbing set up will be assessed as well. Toilet needs to be placed in such a way it does not block access. These considerations are all necessary to ensure at an emergency time, should that ever happen, first responders have unobstructed access in and out of the bathroom.
Bathing preferences and bathing solution
How many people in the household will use the bathroom? Will it be the person with a disability exclusively or more family members as well? In that case, the safety consultant will find out about bathing preferences, whether they all favour soaking as opposed to showering or vice versa. In case the user(s) favour both options, the consultant may recommend a barrier-free walk in tub with a shower which offers a versatile solution. Bathers can either soak in the tub or use a hand shower that is attached to the wall with a vertical safety bar with a shower clip attachment.
Since accessibility is the cornerstone of a barrier free bathing experience, an experienced bathroom safety consultant will most likely recommend an outward-opening walk in tub with shower as opposed to an inward-opening walk in tub. Reason? An outward opening walk in tub truly guarantees a barrier free experience with an easy and lateral transfer in and out of the tub. This is particularly valuable for wheelchair users who do not need to worry about manoeuvring to enter and exit the tub.
Is it enough to get advice from an occupational health and safety therapist or an interior designer?
No. Even though their input is certainly valuable when it comes to making a bathroom accessible for the patient/client they are dealing with, it is recommendable to complement this advice with that of an experienced bathroom safety consultant with a sound construction and renovation experience. Why? The consultant is better equipped to make recommendations in terms of the best bathing solution based on the client’s specific home and bathroom configuration, specially so if the installation requires modifications to current layout.
We have met a number of clients who have taken the sole advice of an occupational health and safety therapist to embark on an accessible bathroom renovation. This approach has resulted in a costly investment for the client who has incurred additional expenses post installation due to multiple set up and configuration aspects that were not carefully planned prior to purchase.
At the Walkin Tub Company, we have executed complex bathroom renovation projects that other providers of accessible bathing solutions have ruled out because of the level of complexity the project entailed. We were able to complete these projects thanks to our extensive construction experience, our professionally trained staff and the ability to come up with feasible and creative solutions for the client.
As an example, we successfully installed a beautiful American Standard walk in tub with shower within a bedroom for a client whose bathroom did not have the proper configuration or plumbing set up to allow for a walk in bathtub to be installed in the bathroom. In the end, our client found it highly convenient to have the walk in tub with shower installed within the bedroom area as it was more convenient not having to transfer from one room to another.
An in-home bathroom safety consultation is a critical step in your walk in tub purchase. As a matter of fact, it is a determining factor.
An experienced safety consultant will make recommendations based on your specific bathroom and entire home configuration, plumbing set up, lifestyle and bathing preferences. He/she will have extensive experience in construction and renovation as every home presents a different scenario for which he will make the right recommendation regarding an accessible bathing solution. It is also advisable to complement recommendations from an interior designer or an occupational safety and health therapist with that of a bathroom safety consultant to ensure you cover all important aspects for the installation of an accessible bathing solution in your home.
If you are considering renovating your bathroom and installing an accessible walk in tub or walk in shower, the Walkin Tub Company safety consultants are here to help you. Contact us for a no-obligation in-home consultation
Happy walk in tub shopping!