We know that bathing can be a difficult proccess if you have a disability.
This page is designed to show you what is available to help make things easier.
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Bath lifts are designed to provide a secure level platform across the top of the bath which most people sit on before swinging their legs over the bath side, but stepping over the bath side (if you can do it safely) and then sitting on the seat is not wrong. However you should be aware this type of bath lift will not lift your legs over the bath side for you so you need to be able to do this yourself or with the help of a carer.
Most bath lifts use electric power to lower you down into and lift you up from the bottom of the bath. They are usually battery powered (which require recharging) but some models can be operated directly from the mains. Connecting the battery to the bath lift and to the charger can be awkward so you should make sure you can do this before you buy your bath lift.
There are four main types of bath lift currently available
(1) bath lift with a fixed back
(2) bath lift with a reclining back
(3) inflatable bath lift
(4) band bath lift
As there are any number of bath lifts currently on the market it is always a good idea to try before you buy and preferably in your own bath.
A bath lift will help you to be more independent but it is always a good idea to have your phone or care alarm pendant to hand when you are bathing just in case
Here are some points to consider to help you choose the bath lift most suitable for you
Bath lifts with a fixed or reclining back provide maximum support if your sitting balance is not good or you experience feelings of apprehension or dizziness.
With all bath lifts you have a solid seat between you and the bath and you should only expect to immerse the lower half of your body in the water.
Legroom can be a problem with this type of bath lift, particularly if you are tall or have a short bath. In addition some of the bath lifts available do not fit as far back in the bath as others so you need to ensure the bath lift you choose allows you to sit comfortably especially if you like a long soak
Reclining bath lifts can be of benefit if you are uncomfortable sitting with your hips flexed for any length of time. Once at the bottom of the bath the back will recline enabling you to lie back. When you are ready to get out the back will return you to a sitting position before you are lifted up. However you should be aware this type of bath lift tends to take up more space in the bath than a lift with a fixed back resulting in less room for you to stretch out your legs.
Inflatable bath lifts allow you the maximum use of your bath enabling you to lie back and immerse yourself fully in the water. However, because they use compressed air to lift and do not have a rigid back they are less stable than the rigid seat type and you need to have good sitting balance and be able to shift your body weight appropriately to use them safely. Inflatable bath lifts can be more expensive than the fixed and reclining back types of bath lift. This type of bath lift can be mains or battery operated but you might not always have a choice.
Band bath lifts again offer you the maximum use of your bath but they require to be secured to the fabric of your property before you can use them. Unlike the other types of bath lift they are not portable and can only be used in the bath to which they are fitted. These bath lifts do not have any back support at all so you do need very good sitting balance to use them. In addition as you are lowered/lifted your body is dragged sideways making it necessary that you constantly change your position on the band to remain upright at the bottom of the band’s loop as it lengthens/shortens. You should expect to pay in excess of £1200 to have this type of bath lift fitted.
- Who else is going to use the bath – can you or your carer lift it in and out if necessary? – Most bath lifts will take apart for ease but some are heavier than others.
- Does your bath have a textured base? – most bath lifts have suckers that need to adhere to the bottom of the bath to operate safely
- Is the seat comfortable? Some bath lifts have seats that are not padded and can be uncomfortable to sit on. Cushioned pads are available for some bath lifts as an optional extra
- Is your bath a regular shape and size? Most bath lifts are not designed to be used in corner baths, or the seat may not come up to the rim of an exceptionally deep bath for example.
- Does your bath have raised handles on the sides? – these can make it difficult for you to lift your legs over.
- Can you fit the battery and remember to charge it as necessary?