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Whether you’re planning to care for an aging loved one or convert your home to accommodate someone with a disability, having a bathroom that’s fully handicapped accessible is key to providing a welcoming and safe environment. Hiring a professional plumbing service to install your handicapped accessible fixtures and modifications is important, both to ensure that they’re properly put in and to make sure that your home modifications are up to municipal code.
There are five key fixtures that your plumbing service will install to create a handicapped-accessible home and enhance the safety of your home.
Install a Roll-In Shower or Accessible Tub
Bathing safely is essential for everyone and creating the right kind of shower or tub for your needs is critical to avoid slips and falls and allow the user the greatest degree of independence. When placing grab bars in your shower, tub, and toilet area, make sure that these are very close to the plumbing faucets and controls to allow users to easily operate the fixture. When in doubt, ask your plumbing service for recommendations for placement.
Roll-in showers are designed for wheelchair users, giving them a slip-free shower floor to roll the wheelchair in before transferring into a shower chair. Many roll-in showers also have grab bars for safety, allowing the user to hold tightly while transferring and to avoid slipping. The proper size for a roll-in shower is 36″ wide for someone using a transfer seat and 60″ wide for someone in a wheelchair.
A walk-in tub is another option for seniors and the handicapped. These tubs have seat built-in and a swinging, latchable door, reducing the need for the user to step over a raised lip of the tub.
Adjusting the Height and Weight of the Toilet
Transferring from a wheelchair or walker to a toilet is another opportunity for the handicapped user to fall or have difficulty meeting their needs easily. Raising a toilet and reinforcing its installation into the wall can help when users must place extra pressure on the commode while transferring and reinforcing the installation can prevent accidents that may happen when users place extra pressure on it.
ADA guidelines recommend that a toilet is 17″ to 19″ high, although if you aren’t able to have your plumbing service replace your toilet, then adding a higher or thicker seat can help users more easily transfer. Or, opting for a wall-mounted toilet can be another option, as these can be adjusted for the right height for the user. When installing a handicapped-accessible toilet, don’t forget to have your plumbing service move the toilet paper roll so that it’s within easy reach.
Increasing the height of the toilet is definitely a job for a plumbing service, as this fit may necessitate adding extra pipe or re-routing the existing pipe. Grab bars attached to the wall near the toilet are also critical for safe transferring, and these, too, should be installed by a professional to ensure that they’re properly secured.
Another option for toileting may be the installation of a bidet into the bathroom, which promotes greater cleanliness and may help those who have difficulty reaching to clean themselves. Your bluefrog plumbing service can help you find the right kind of user-friendly bidet and add it into your bathroom plumbing.
Non-slip flooring in the bathroom reduces instances of slips and falls, especially when the floor is wet. Certain kinds of materials that a professional plumber uses when designing handicapped accessible bathrooms have properties that dry quickly or are textured to enhance the grip of a wheelchair or walker.
Even adding a slated wood cover over a tile or linoleum floor will help give more traction for users, although re-flooring as part of your upgraded plumbing service may help those using the bathroom feel more secure with their footing or when using a walker or cane in the bathroom.
Preventing burns is important for anyone, but especially for people who can’t quickly jump out of the way of a shower stream or pull their hands from the sink. In fact, a sudden blast of hot water and the instinctual reaction to pull away can lead to falls in the shower or tub that can have significant effects on the user’s health or cause a serious injury. Furthermore, children and the elderly have thinner skin than other age groups, so making sure that their delicate skin is protected is important.
When designing a handicapped-accessible bathroom, installing anti-scalding valves and making sure that the water heater isn’t set above 120 degrees will help protect the user from burns. These tempering valves mix cold water with the outgoing hot water to produce water at the temperatures that won’t burn the user.
Sturdy, Grabbable Sink
Wheelchair users may have difficulty using a sink set into a traditional bathroom vanity or atop a cabinet. A sink that’s designed to allow a wheelchair to roll underneath allows users to more easily brush their teeth and wash their hands. The best roll-under sinks are securely anchored into the wall and installed by a plumber. Your bluefrog Plumbing + Drain plumber will ensure that the sink is sturdy enough for users to grab onto if necessary and that it’s the right height to allow full wheel-under access, as the front of the sink needs to be 34″ maximum rim height with a 27″ clearance
Single handle faucets or even touchless faucets help handicapped people or those with chronic pain or arthritis more easily use the sink. If your sink doesn’t have these features, a plumbing service can also help you determine the one that’s easier to use.
Choose bluefrog Plumbing + Drain
The design team at bluefrog Plumbing + Drain can help you retrofit your bathroom for handicapped accommodations and recommend the right kinds of plumbing fixtures to fit your needs. Visit us online or give us a call to see what your local building codes require and how we can help you create a safe and comfortable handicapped accessible bathroom.