Are the showers in your facility accessible? You may think they are, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind when designing for accessibility. If you don’t have the experience or a full checklist to evaluate and ensure compliance it’s easy to overlook a few essential details in shower accessibility. Learn more here about what it takes to have fully accessible showers.
The first thing that probably comes to mind when you think of an accessible shower is hand railings. Rails in the right places can help a person remain steady while the shower is being used, which helps to prevents falls and accidents. However, there is more to accessibility than just hand rails.
The entrance to a shower must be accessible; this includes several components. First, it has to be wide enough to allow a potential walker or wheelchair through the opening. Second, it should have zero or barrier-free threshold, i.e., there should not be a step or boundary somebody has to lift his or her legs up and over in order to enter.
Another crucial component of shower accessibility is the ability to install a shower seat. This is not the same as the bench style seat you might find on the back wall of a luxurious home or hotel shower. An accessible shower seat is typically wall mounted in a central location, with ample room to allow for maneuverability. The placement of the seat must also allow for full access to the shower head and all other controls, storage, and so forth.
An accessible shower also utilizes the right materials in its construction. In particular, a slip-resistant surface is absolutely essential for preventing accidental injury.
Handheld shower heads or those that are otherwise fully adjustable are another important element in accessible showers. Another useful add-on is to have an anti-scald mechanism in place, which will prevent sudden and extreme temperature changes that can lead to slips and falls.
As a rule of thumb, consider how an accessible shower will potentially be used. It’s important to keep in mind entry clearance and internal space to move around. Once seated, everything that is essential needs to be within reach.
Ultimately, when you need full accessibility that is ADA compliant, you should work with a partner who has the experience and know-how to get the job done, while still being flexible enough to help you achieve the desired look or feel. Call Tower Industries at 800.807.8889 for more information and we’ll help you take the next step with a safe and accessible shower, whether it’s for a hospital or healthcare facility, a hotel or university, or anywhere else.