6 Basics of Handicap Showers
Traditional showers have a threshold that needs to be stepped over to enter, and people often use them for years without issue.
When a life event occurs, such as surgery, people realize that the step into the shower creates a barrier to safe showering. When that happens, a shower’s threshold becomes an unexpected obstacle which may cause people to start thinking about converting to a handicap shower.
An accessible shower is a shower that is easily entered by anybody, regardless of their mobility level. Accessible showers are also known as handicap showers, curbless showers, no-step showers, and zero-entry showers.
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Important aspects include…
1. Easy to enter and exit for everyone; from people who can walk easily to those who rely on a wheeled mobility device.
2. Users should be able to access and reach all items within the shower, including:
- water controls
- handheld shower head
- grab bars for balance
3. All items should be easily accessible regardless of whether the user is sitting or standing.
4. A place to rest is important too. Adding a folding shower seat is often the perfect solution. For people who only desire a temporary solution, portable shower seats are often used.
When using a shower seat, it is important to choose one that is large enough for the user, yet still allows room for anyone who might stand while using the shower. Also, check to be sure the weight capacity is sufficient for the largest user.
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5. A slip-resistant floor. Here at EZ Able®, our showers have grip-ability pre-built into our pre-fabricated showers. When choosing flooring tile, be sure to select one that also has a slip resistance rating. (ANSI A137.1–2012 standard, ceramic tiles selected for level interior spaces expected to be walked upon when wet must have a minimum wet DCOF AcuTest value of 0.42).
6. Easily operable shower controls are important too. Easy shower controls consist of:
- Single hand operation
- An easy water diverter – if using with a separate hand shower head
- Thermostatic control – Sometimes when people age, they lose temperature sensitivity and it becomes important to control the water temperature via methods beyond touch
- Helpful handholds or grab bars to hold onto for balanced support
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