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Designing the perfect shower with "Caregivers" in mind

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Of late I have been asked to help with the design on showers for elderly patients and those who are handicapped. I need to understand what needs the caregivers have in addition to the needs of the patient. A shower designed by the book that gives no thought to the nursing staff who will be helping in the "Day by Day" may net the same old same old if design changes are not considered.

Points like "Not all caregivers are right handed so shower fixtures and body sprays should be left and right of the shower" are the type of points I'm looking for.

Grab bar placement and transfer practices are also something that need to be learned first hand and are impossible for me to read out of a book. Any thoughts there?

I have had the pleasure of listening to many of the top people in Health Care Design speak on this subject and I listened to all these lectures at the Health Care Design Conference in Las Vegas two weeks back. I am searching out the latest and greatest technology but what I seek most is "Old School" advice from our caregivers... What really works and what you would like to see happen in our patient's bathroom and shower areas...

Any insight would be helpful. I understand that transfers to and from the toilet can be quiet difficult if the Grab bars are placed in the wrong location or there is no room for two caregivers left and right...

Thank you for your time.

Kind Regards,

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replied December 23rd, 2010
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Hi John:

The perfect shower has large tube grab bars similar to the ones in restrooms...The narrow ones are too difficult to grab...

All grab bars or tubular bars should be wall mounted on studs...For extra strength a piece of oak or whatever decorative wood you wish, would be added first with the screw driven all the way through into the stud...Never mount a grab bar to drywall or the inside of a smaller shower like they sell nowadays...It will pull away and the person will be seriously hurt...Flooring must be quilted so that it is not slippery...Towel racks must be near....

This is just a little insight...Hope it helps...Take care...

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