What is a Shower Chair?
A shower chair (also known as a tub seat, bath chair, or various other names) is a water resistant chair that may or may not include a backrest and armrest. This type of durable medical equipment usually features a slip-resistant seat as well as rubber or suction cup-style feet to maximize safety. Shower benches are used by individuals with temporary or long-term disabilities, as well as people with limited mobility and/or standing ability. Some shower chairs, known as transfer benches, can also help make it easier to get in and out of the bathtub.
Bath Chairs: A Brief History
Shower chairs are a relatively recent development, with the first patent being filed in 1793. The initial design was little more than a wheelchair with the wheels removed and replaced by rubberized feet. Since then, manufacturers have taken advantage of advances in material sciences to change and improve the design, ultimately morphing into the various types of shower chairs we see today.
Bath Chair Features
Today, there are thousands of shower chair types, and they each vary in the features they offer. The model can be found offering one or more of the features listed below.
Feet: Most bath chairs are equipped with non-slip rubber “feet” at the bottom of each leg, which helps to reduce the likelihood that the chair will shift when you sit down. This feature is extremely important for individuals with limited balance, but in reality ensures safety for any shower chair users, since the wet floor of the tub poses a significant risk of slips and falls.
Clamp: Some bath chairs are specially designed to clamp to one of the sidewalls of the tub, making them less likely to slide or tip when the transition from sitting to standing.
Cut-Out Seat: Some of the models have a cut-out portion in the center of the seat, making it possible to reach down and wash private areas while seated.
Bath Chair Materials: It is really important when you buy any shower chair because it ensures your chair durability. Most bath chairs have a solid plastic backrest, solid plastic seat, and aluminum legs. There are some models that are made from wood or entirely made from plastic and stainless steel.
Folding: A few models are designed to fold-up, making them easier to store out of the way when not to use and easier to pick when travelling. If you do not require the extra space, keep in mind that a non-folding shower chair may provide increased stability and thus increased safety.
Draining Holes: Small drainage holes along the shower chair seat can help prevent water from pooling on the seat. This feature may improve stability, skin safety and overall comfort.
How to Use a Shower Chair Correctly
When you know how to use a shower chair correctly, potential injuries can be brought down to a minimum. If you feel unsafe while showering and bathing, getting a shower chair and following these simple steps can help you feel comfortable again:
- Adjust the height of the chair so you can sit and stand up easily, especially if you suffer from frequent back pain.
- Make sure that the legs are level and in contact with the floor.
- Use a slip-resistant mat beneath the chair and beneath your feet.
- Clear the area of any obstruction so you don’t stumble on something or making it fall.
- Finally, enjoy a safe and comfortable shower with a shower chair.
To maximize your showering experience, you may want to consider purchasing a rain shower head, which mimics the fall of rain for a pleasant, relaxing shower experience. Alternatively, you may want to consider a hand held shower head, which is crucial if your condition makes showering independently very difficult. While a rain shower may feel great, a hand held shower head is the easiest way to ensure that every part of your body gets cleansed even when you are unable to position yourself below the water stream the way a fully mobile person can.