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13 Mar 2024
What are the essential features of a fully accessible bathroom?
Anna Dearden
Home Sector Specialist
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Ever wondered why a fully accessible bathroom is a game-changer — not just for individuals needing bath mobility aids in their homes, but for commercial venues like workplaces and restaurants, too? 


Creating a space that welcomes everyone is so much more than ticking a box — it's about inclusivity and, dare we say, a savvy business move. Accessibility can significantly impact consumer choice, with studies showing that businesses that prioritise such features often enjoy a broader and more loyal customer base. Whether it's installing bath aids for the elderly or ensuring there's enough space in your bathroom for wheelchair and walker movement, these modifications make a world of difference to many. 


So, how do we make our bathrooms accessible, and why should we? Let's dive in and discover the essential features that not only comply with accessibility standards but also ensure comfort and dignity for all.


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What is a fully accessible bathroom?


A fully accessible bathroom is more than just a space with extra grab bars. It's a thoughtfully designed area that aims to be comfortable, accessible, and easy to manoeuvre for everyone — especially those who rely on mobility aids or have specific accessibility needs. The goal? To create an environment where independence is a given and not a struggle.


It’s an environment where every fixture and feature, from the height of the sink to the positioning of the shower controls, is placed with intention. It’s about ensuring that there’s ample room to move, whether that means space for a wheelchair to turn comfortably or ensuring that bath mobility aids can be used without a hitch.


Who could benefit from using an accessible bathroom?


The answer to this might surprise you because it extends far beyond the obvious beneficiaries. Sure, wheelchair users are the first group that comes to mind, and rightly so. An accessible bathroom for them means a world where barriers fade, allowing ease and independence in a space that's often taken for granted.


But let's not forget about individuals with mobility impairments. Whether it's due to age, injury, or a condition from birth, the need for a space that accommodates mobility aids and allows for easy navigation is universal. Then there are those managing bowel or bladder conditions, for whom quick and easy access to a bathroom isn't just convenient, it's essential.


Think also of the people dealing with balance issues, those who find that gripping isn't as easy as it used to be, or anyone who finds comfort and safety in the presence of support rails. The right setup can transform a potentially hazardous activity into a safe and comfortable experience.


And it doesn't stop there. Invisible disabilities — conditions that aren't immediately apparent but impact daily life — also merit consideration. An accessible bathroom can offer a haven of functionality and comfort for these individuals too, proving that accessibility caters to a broad spectrum of needs.


Essential accessible bathroom features


When dreaming up the ideal accessible bathroom, it's the features that truly make the space welcoming for everyone, especially those with limited mobility. Striving for a fully kitted-out bathroom is admirable, but remember — every step towards accessibility counts.

 

Even incorporating a few of these features can significantly enhance someone's comfort and independence. You may also find that, if you run a venue for instance, you may not need every single thing on this list — but it’s good to be aware, regardless!


1. Walk-in baths and showers


Ease of access is paramount, and walk-in baths and showers can make the world of difference. They remove the need for precarious steps, making bathing a safer, more enjoyable experience. For someone with limited mobility, this means less reliance on others and more autonomy in their daily routines.


2. Low-threshold showers


A low-threshold shower minimises the risk of trips and falls — a common concern in the bathroom where floors can often get far too slippery. By reducing the step into the shower to almost floor level, users can move in and out with ease, making it an essential feature for enhancing safety and confidence.


3. Roll-in shower


Roll-in showers offer independence to wheelchair users, eliminating any barriers that might prevent them from entering the shower space. These showers are designed to be spacious and barrier-free, allowing for a seamless transition.


4. Shower seats


Shower seats bring comfort and security to the bathing experience, allowing users to rest as needed. This is especially helpful for individuals who may not have the stamina or balance to stand for extended periods, offering a practical solution to conserve energy and reduce fall risk.


5. Space


Space is a necessity for manoeuvrability. A spacious bathroom allows for easy navigation with mobility aids, ensuring users can move freely and comfortably without the risk of injury or discomfort.


6. Grab bars and handrails


Strategically placed grab bars and handrails offer vital support for those with limited mobility, assisting with transfers and movements throughout the bathroom. These tools can also empower users to navigate the space with greater independence.


7. Comfort height sinks and toilets


Comfort height sinks and toilets are designed with accessibility in mind, positioned at a height that makes them easier to use for individuals in wheelchairs or with mobility issues. This thoughtful detail can make a significant difference in daily comfort and usability.


8. Easy-to-use taps and bins


Simple, intuitive designs for taps and bins can significantly reduce the effort required to use them. Lever taps, for example, are much easier for individuals with limited grip strength, enhancing autonomy and ease of use.


9. Low mirrors

Low mirrors ensure that everyone, regardless of their height or whether they're seated in a wheelchair, can see themselves. This consideration fosters a sense of normalcy and inclusion, making personal grooming accessible to all — because who doesn’t like a quick mirror check every once in a while?


10. Easy-to-reach facilities


Placing essential items such as soap, paper towels, and toilet paper within easy reach eliminates unnecessary stretching or manoeuvring, ensuring that users can comfortably access what they need without assistance. 


11. Raised toilet


A raised toilet can make sitting down and standing up much easier for those with mobility issues, reducing strain and the risk of falls. This feature can make a world of difference in promoting independence and safety.


12. Emergency alarm cord


An in-reach emergency alarm cord offers peace of mind, ensuring that help is readily available if needed. This safety feature is crucial for providing reassurance to both users and their loved ones.


13. Non-slip flooring


Non-slip flooring is essential in preventing falls. In fact, slips are one of the most common accidents in bathrooms! 


14. Clear signposting


In commercial spaces, clear signposting will help users easily locate and navigate to the bathroom, reducing any anxiety that may have and ensuring the space is welcoming to all — including those who might have cognitive impairments or are unfamiliar with the venue.


15. Wide doorways


Wide doorways are fundamental to an accessible bathroom, allowing enough space for mobility vehicles to pass through with ease. This feature is crucial for ensuring that the bathroom is accessible to everyone, regardless of which mobility aid they use.


16. Bonus feature: A QR code to Accessaloo


Incorporating a QR code that directs users to Accessaloo offers a modern, tech-savvy way to enhance accessibility. This app allows users to find and share information about accessible toilets globally, providing invaluable resources for planning outings with confidence.


When you include these features in a bathroom, it can transform it from a functional space into a sanctuary of independence and dignity for those with limited mobility. Every detail with accessibility in mind — no matter how small — contributes to creating an environment that is truly welcoming for everyone.


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Enhance your home or business with mobility bathroom furniture


Looking to upgrade with mobility bathroom furniture? That’s what we’re here for, and our price comparison tool is here to make your life easier. 


With just a few clicks, you can compare prices from a variety of trusted mobility bathroom suppliers, ensuring you find the perfect deal that meets your needs and budget. 


Don't miss out on creating an environment that welcomes everyone. Start comparing today — your ideal solution is just a few clicks away.

author
Anna Dearden
Home Sector Specialist
Combining in-depth research with an interest in all things home improvement, I aim to keep SpotDif readers up to date with interior design trends, renewable energy options, and more.
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