Everything There Is to Know About Bath Chairs

Bath chairs are specially designed for people who face mobility problems or are at increased risk of falling. It is a waterproof chair designed for the elderly to allow comfortable use and performance of any activity in the washroom with ease and without having help from anybody. In the U.S, about 200,000 non-fatal accidents happen in washrooms every year, according to a report from the CDC. The accident rate tends to ramp up with age. People usually fall around the washroom tub, which causes severe injuries and sometimes even results in hospitalization of persons above 65. The figure mentioned above shows that these washroom accidents are prevalent and mostly unavoidable. Bath chairs help avoid such falls and accidents. They not only give support by preventing people from falling but also provide a comfortable sitting place while taking a bath. Other names usually used for bath chairs are shower seats, shower stools, and bath benches.

Does medicare cover shower chairs?

Medicare and most insurance providers do not characterize showering as a medical necessity or as DME. Durable medical equipment (DME) is any highly specialized medical equipment prescribed by a doctor for home-usage. Not providing anything related to washroom safety is a problem, but that is not supposed to deter you from buying this necessary washroom equipment. There exist many other funding resources for all kinds of washroom equipment. The main obstacle to insurance payments is categorizing what stuff is really "medically necessary" or DME, and that is how you can make things easier.

History

Almost 4000 BC, history informs us about the use of wheeled chairs but potentially not for the disabled or the elderly in masses. In 1655, Stephen Farfler, a paraplegic watchmaker from Germany, was the first person to build a wheelchair to ease his ride. In the seventeenth century, a popular transportation method was the sedan chair, which was also made for the same purpose. James Heath made a chair to take women and sick persons from their homes to the showers, in around 1750. Later in 1783, John Dawson built up a structure named as the Bath seat with three wheels pushing design. It also had the feature of a firm handle connected to the front wheel, which allows the traveler to drive. Over time, its use became commonplace in spas in Europe. With time, numerous versions with advancing features appeared. Several were open, and some with encased hoods and glass made front.

Eventually, it replaced the very famous two-person sedan chair of that time. The main reason for its popularity was its cost-effectiveness. Also, it was essential for providing the facility of transference for disabled people. It was used enormously in the 20th century, which led to more ideas for improving its design and keeping it cost-effective and user friendly. 

Now, the modern bath chairs are a result of development for the past many centuries. Manufacturers have used modern-day technology and tried to advance and amend its design, thus providing a range of models in the market.

Indications to use bath chairs

The primary function of bath chairs is to give maximum support to users when showering. It helps to provide comfort to many people who are bound and dependent upon others for their hygiene. 

Here, we are going to indicate all the people who are in dire need of using them:

For the elderly: people over 65 are frail and fragile, with many ailments affecting them. It is not wrong to say that their daily living activities mostly become bound because of impaired mobility. In this condition, bath chairs can be an excellent survival tool for this age group in the shower.

For spinal injury patients: people who are stricken with a spinal or back injury become bed-bound for a long time and entirely depending on their caretakers. They can use these to help them ease their hygiene process, which is a challenging process, both for the patient and caretaker.

For people with fractured bones: an accident or any misfortune may result in fracture of the long bones. When this happens, it is painful and almost impossible for people to walk and stand on their feet until complete healing takes place. In this regard, people with broken bones are ideal users of them.

For people with a temporary physical condition: any condition that temporarily leads a person to use crutches can create a hindrance for that person to take a bath quickly and freely. These people can also use bath chairs to clean up with ease during this time of healing.

For people with long term disability: conditions like cerebral palsy (CP), stroke, and spina bifida may lead a person to permanent disability. These conditions are life long, and one must live their life managing these disabilities. Bath chairs provide an efficient way of maintaining a person's hygiene by one's self, thus keeping independence level high. 

Complications of using bath chairs

Although they are very user friendly, sometimes complications may arise with bath chairs. Complications may occur because of the unfitting structure or because of not following precautionary measures that may pose some serious safety concerns. 

  • People with small height can have a problem while using a chair with more depth. Thus, they cannot sit properly and safely while using it, hence posing the risk of falling.
  • People aged 65 or older may be unable to handle it without backrest and can fall because of improper support.
  • Sometimes, the shower tubs do not appropriately fit the chair dimensions. When this is the case, it can cause a serious risk of falling.
  • Chairs not supporting maximum weight can be a problem for an obese or bulky person. They may not sit comfortably in the chair, which can cause them to get hit by the sidewall or so. 
  • The risk of falling can arise if the bath chair is not assembled correctly or is the screws are loose.
  • Rubber feet may not provide adhesion with the surface if covered with some plastic bag, slime, or hair.
  • Improperly cleaned seats and the unhygienic surface might pose a risk of severe health problems.
  • Rusting hardware, worn parts, or other signs of damage should be taken care of. Otherwise, it can be a source of any accident while using it. 

Alternative tools

A completely safe, durable, and reliable alternative to bath chairs may not be found. It is challenging to find an option because of the specificity that is provided with them. But in the absence of a shower chair, an alternative is modifying your restroom or shower tub. It may require you to alter the settings and dimensions of your restroom entirely so that it is favorable for that person's particular needs. Nonetheless, this can be a very tiring, costly, and difficult task, often compelling the person to just go for an easy option, which is a bath chair.

 

General specifications

There are several designs of bath chairs available in the market, with different specifications. However, we are going to cite the general specifications which should be carefully looked into to get a perfect match for your need:

  • Provided with plastic seat 
  • With 300 lbs. (136 kg) maximum weight-bearing capacity 
  • Having the depth of 12-1/2 inches to be used safely
  • Can fit easily with washroom settings
  • Foldable and occupying less space when folded.
  • Provided in assembled form but not always
  • Metal legs with adjustable screws that allow setting at an optimum height
  • Covered with non-slip rubber suction cups thus allowing strong adhesion with the surface
  • Drainage holes to make sure cleanliness and preventing water pooling.
  • Made corrosion-free using aluminum or any other metal protector
  • A safer and more user-friendly chair with a padded seat is possible

How it works

If users follow the proper instructions to use it, the working of a shower chair becomes easy, ensuring maximum protection. Here we are enlisting all the crucial steps to take while working with it:

Proper placement: The first step is to put it in a shower tub, ensuring maximum stability, and excluding the chances of sliding, shaking, and drifting. Ensure that its feet are properly adherent and in level on the surface.

Ensuring double stability: It is always better to take some extra measures for protection. Try to add a rough mat or rag to prevent any slippage even after it is wet. It must not slip or slide on the surface.

Removing any obstacles: Try to remove any barriers on the floor, tub, or caddy over the top of the tub.

Adjusting height: Adjust the chair's height in a way that allows it to be used in sitting position and that the person's feet touch the surface. It must not be too low that it causes difficulty while standing up nor too high so that feet do not touch the floor.

Sitting in the center: Help the person to properly sit on the chair or use a shower bench for this purpose. After proper sitting, the person is ready to shower safely.

Market leaders

Shower chairs with perfect weight accommodation, structure, and secure grip can be challenging to find because of the massive number of brands available in the market. We have tried to come up with the best and reliable brands from where you can buy them of your choice.

The famous leading brands include Nova, Medline, Essential Medical Supply, Drive Medical, and Oasis.Moreover, SpinLife, Go! Mobility Solutions, Nuprodx are also recommended by new mobility.

Assisted Living Today rated the best bath chairs available to make the selection easy for users. Their first pick is Azadx Bath Chair, which has an excellent quality, built with aluminum alloy, having adjustable legs height, hole to allow water drainage, and costs $50.

The second top pick is Carex Bath Seat with adjustable legs, made to fit shower tubs, the capacity to bear 400 pounds thus a priority for obese people and costs $36

Conclusion

For the elderly or people with disabilities, bath chairs can genuinely give necessary postural help and durability. They help to provide protected relaxing place while showering and ensures prevention of falling or any other mishap. Regardless of which brand you decide to buy, you should make sure that the seat is secure. Also, show the bather the right method to sit in the chair to avoid slips and falls.

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