Designing bathrooms should prioritize accessibility and safety, particularly for those with disabilities, and to create inclusive spaces that accommodate these requirements, it is essential to install and maintain handicap facilities in bathrooms.
Our article reviews the features and installation considerations of handicap-accessible showers, enabling readers to understand how they transform showers into safe, accessible environments.
What is a Handicap Shower?
Handicap showers, also referred to as accessible showers or ADA-compliant showers, are intended to be used by people with physical disabilities, limited mobility, or senior citizens.
They allow for clean and simple entry and exit, making bathing safer and more convenient.
Key Features of Handicap Showers
The primary features of handicap showers emphasize safety, accessibility, and comfort, making them essential for any accessible bathroom design. They include,
- Grab bars: Grab bars in accessible showers can be horizontal, vertical, or angle-adjusted to assist users.
- Shower Heads: Vertical shower heads are height adjustable, accommodating wheelchairs and non-disabled individuals for comfortable showering.
- Threshold: Shower thresholds keep water in. The threshold should be 0.5″ high and beveled. Thresholds up to 0.25″ is optional.
- Non-Slip Flooring: Nonslip tiling is installed in handicap showers to prevent accidents and falls by offering better grip and reducing accidents, especially in wet conditions.
- Shower Seat: For members who prefer seating, shower seats or benches can be affixed to walls. When not in use, they can be folded up or down, and freestanding seats can be removed and stored elsewhere.
Read more about accessible bathroom design for the elderly and handicapped.
Types of Handicap Shower Design
Roll-in Shower Or Barrier Free Shower
Roll-in showers are designed with a barrier-free entrance on the same level as the bathroom floor, making them accessible to wheelchairs or walkers. They have roomy interiors, so wheelchairs and walkers fit easily and provide ample space for movement.
Roll-in showers are preferred in hotels, giving access to disabled visitors using wheelchairs or mobility aids. Read about the best hotels with roll-in showers here.
The threshold, or step into a walk-in shower, is often relatively small. Walk-in showers can feature a built-in seat, referred to as walk-in showers with seats, which are made to be more user-friendly than standard showers. Both wheelchair users and cane users can use walk-in showers.
One side of the transfer shower is open, allowing wheelchair users to move to a built-in shower seat before closing the door. These are ideal for active individuals who may require additional support.
Even though they aren’t showers, walk-in tubs deserve recognition because they provide an accessible alternative to traditional bathtubs with waterproof doors.
Real-Life Examples of People Using Handicap Accessible Showers
Investing in or remodeling a handicap-accessible shower dramatically impacts the lives of physically challenging people.
A small video shows a wheelchair user getting into the shower chair.
Ouelle shares her point of view on a forum about accessible showers, saying that her family initially purchased a walk-in tub to accommodate members with knee problems. But its small dimensions quickly became frustrating, and then they decided to replace it with a walk-in shower equipped with handrails and a stool, which has been fine since then.
Ellie shares her remodeling of the bathroom and installing a shower chair and customized handlebars, making her shower process easier.
Mason Ellis, a quadriplegic and Youtuber, shows his wheelchair-accessible roll-in shower and its accessories at 3:00 seconds in the video.
Handicap showers are the perfect solution for creating an inclusive bathroom environment for aging individuals or people with mobility challenges.
Mobility, space availability, and personal preferences must be considered when selecting the ideal accessible shower. Consult a professional who specializes in accessible design to ensure that the shower complies with all regulations.