What is a Shower Chair?
A shower chair
is made for bathtubs or showers. It should be rust-resistant and sturdy. Bath chairs are designed for use by people who can not stand while they shower. They also help people avoid sitting in the bottom of the bathtub where they can easily slip trying to stand or caretakers can strain their backs lifting the person out of the tub. Shower chairs help people independently bathe and care for themselves while lowering the risk of accidental injury from painful falls. They are also called, tub seats, shower seats, shower benches, and bath seats all depending on the exact style. A shower chair is different from a transfer bench
but transfer benches can be used in the shower to help those who go from wheelchair to bathtub.
Important! A shower chair will not help you if it does not fit properly in your tub. The bottom of the legs needs to sit flat against the bottom of the tub and not up against the angled sides of the bathtub walls. When the legs are flat against the bottom of the tub they will be more stable. Always take careful measurements of the bottom of the tub. Check the shower chair you intend to buy and make sure it is the right size. Many companies will not allow you to return a shower chair once it has been opened and assembled so check measurements and size carefully!
Which Shower Chair Style is right for you?
A shower chair without arms or a back
is great for someone who has good back strength as well as strong balancing ability while sitting. It helps conserve energy while showering since they keep you from having to stand in the shower however they don't offer a lot of support. This is a seat for anyone who would like to sit comfortably while enjoying their shower or bath. This style of shower chair is nice for personal grooming as well since it is much more comfortable to use instead of sitting on the edge of the tub while shaving. Make sure the surface of the backless shower chair you choose is like this one and comes with a non-slip seat surface. Another important feature is the holes in the seat. Those holes stop water from pooling up which can make the seat slick and cause falls. When your chair doesn't have arms or a back it needs to be secure and slip proof. The carved out handles can also help you stand and sit down safely.
A shower chair with a full back
is great for people who do not have a lot of back strength and need to lean against the back of the chair. It can be easier to balance when you have the support of a chair back. A padded chair can be more comfortable than a hard plastic seat. This is especially important for people who are dealing with skin breakdown. If skin breakdown is a huge concern, I would recommend an additional cushion for bath time. ROHO Air Cushions
can be used in the shower and are a great solution for pressure sores. A chair like the one pictured here is adjustable. It can be used with the arms on or off. If you have poor sitting ability, difficulty balancing, or need the arm support when standing, a shower chair with arms is the better choice for you.
Shower Chair with Commode Opening or Without?
A commode opening is a cut out space in the seat that can be used to relieve yourself or wash your entire body while showering. Shower chairs are sold with solid seats or with the commode opening. Some even have seat plugs available so you can switch back and forth as needed.
- The seat cut out makes it easier to wash personal areas without having to stand
- Incontinence poses less of an issue
- The chair can double as a commode and is easily rolled over the toilet or the integrated pan can be used.
- Requires good sitting posture to avoid falling into opening
- Can make some people self-conscience
- Less comfortable than a full seat
A shower chair with a full back, arms, and wheels like the Invacare Mariner Rehab Shower Chair
meant for people who have limited dexterity and mobility. If it is
difficult for you to stand up or sit down, this wheeled style of shower
chair can be very helpful. This style of shower chair requires a shower that
accommodates a chair being rolled inside. Always take careful
measurements before assembling the product. Wheeled shower chairs come with
several useful options. First, you can choose different kinds of wheels.
The back wheel is either a caster wheel or a large wheelchair style
wheel. The caster wheel is best for people who will not be pushing
themselves. If you have a caregiver who will be helping you then a
caster wheel can save space and help this chair work with a wider
numbers of showers. If you will need to push yourself, then you will
want the larger wheelchair style wheel so you are able to smoothly
navigate to the bathroom and inside the shower without having to push
against walls or try to scoot along with your feet.
The best way to choose a shower chair or bath seat is to take your time and research the products you are considering. Do they get good reviews? Will the chair physically fit into the shower or bathtub you will be using? Whenever you are shopping at an online medical supply store always feel free to contact their customer service team if you have any questions. I am sure they would be glad to point you in the right direction and help answer your questions.