When fitting an accessible showering area, it is imperative to recognise the relevant design elements and understand how they will benefit the user. Creating an inclusive, accessible shower room is important to ensure that the elderly or less able maintain a comfortable standard of living, whether that is in their own home or within a care setting.
Installing an inclusive shower room
The design and style of a modern inclusive shower room can vary greatly to cater for the needs of a variety of users, including those with diverse levels of mobility. Some high-need inclusive adaptations are installed to address the specific requirements of a particular user who is elderly or disabled, and can appear somewhat institutional in style.
Increasingly, bathroom installations and refurbishments are considered with the idea of future-proofing in mind, incorporating an element of flexibility into the design, but keeping the outward appearance modern. In the case of a domestic Disabled Facilities Grant, adaptation products may be specified by an occupational therapist or technical officer. Whereas, with a larger adaptation, the contractor will utilise their installation expertise to help decide upon a best-fit solution for their property and needs.
Level access wetrooms
A wetroom is a waterproofed open showering area with level access floor and built in gradient and drainage. When properly fitted, a modern wetroom is leak-free, low maintenance and adaptable. Because a wetroom can be installed anywhere within a property (not just on a ground floor), it enables a highly effective use of space, which can be beneficial for users with mobility difficulties.
The best type of wetroom floor is determined by the location of the installation. For installation onto a concrete floor, specification of a screed template offers a quick and easy way to create a drainage gradient for new-pour solid floors. For a screed template incorporating an easy-to-use, click-together matrix template, such as Impey’s AquaGrade, installation time can be reduced by up to 50%.
For use in upper floors or attic conversions, a prefabricated floor former is lightweight but also offers strength and rigidity. Specification of a model with a built-in drainage gradient and rotating drain plate will mean it’s easy for your installers to avoid joists or existing pipework. Impey’s EasyFit Dec can accommodate wheelchair users and carers and withstand a weight of up to 47 stones (300kg), without the necessity for underboarding, saving time and money.
The success of a wetroom hinges not only on the accurate installation of the floor former, but ensuring that the floor is level throughout the room. It’s crucially important because uneven flooring in a wetroom can lead to pooling and/or drainage issues.
Bath-replacement, low level shower tray
Removal of a bath frees-up floor space, and offers greater ease of access to an elderly or disabled user. Low level shower trays ensure that users with limited mobility can enter and exit a showering area safely and comfortably. In situations where installation of a wetroom in not possible, users with reduced mobility and disabled users in wheelchairs can benefit from an ultra slim shower tray.
With a step height of only 24mm, Impey’s Mantis is the lowest tray available on the market and comes in seven sizes, including two bath replacement sizes. The small step height also means it can be accessed by a wheelchair user, with no ramps.
The quick-to-install Mantis can be fitted above or below ground to suit each user’s specific location and is supplied with a tile upstand and compatible gravity drainage. With a flow rate of 11 litres per minute, the Mantis can easily be cut down to fit a wall-to-wall space where a bath was previously installed.
Understanding shower tray slip resistance: DIN Rating
When selecting a tray for an inclusive shower area, it’s crucial to consider slip resistance. Although no shower tray can be classed as 100% slip-resistant, they can be measured and classified according to the level of slip resistance they offer, using a measurement called a DIN Rating.
The DIN Rating offers the closest test to a true showering environment, and can act as a useful guide to which shower trays are safest in varying situations. To ensure user safety, Impey’s Mantis tray benefits from incorporating a slip resistant satin tread pattern that achieves a DIN 51097 Class ‘B’ on slip resistance.
Shower screens for inclusive showering areas
Some installations require a shower screen, to minimise splash to other parts of the bathroom. From luxury, full-height glass screens to free-standing half-height options, a variety of shower doors and screens are available which are compatible with both shower tray and wetroom installations and can offer varying degrees of support for less-mobile users and their carers.
If a glass screen is going to be used, choose thick, toughened safety glass. Screens which include a floor to ceiling support-pole can offer added user stability. Impey’s Supreme glass shower panels are contemporary and attractive, providing practical support and ease of entry, compatible for use in a wetroom or with a shower tray.
Also compatible with both wetroom or shower tray installations, half-height shower doors offer considerable benefits for users and carers. They’re a safe and functional option ensuring that carers can communicate with, and assist, the person showering, whilst simultaneously staying dry.
Half-height shower doors allow maximum space to enter the shower area — ideal for assisted showering or wheelchair users — and are compatible with rails and shower curtains to allow increased privacy when needed.
Impey has recently launched the revolutionary Elevate half-height shower door, which lifts clear of the floor when opening and closing, ensuring ease of use for care professionals and users.
Most inclusive adaptations will require a combination of vertical, angled and horizontal support rails to offer maximum safety and security.
Positioning support rails correctly is key to ensuring maximum user safety and support. From attractive polished stainless steel support rails to a sturdy Maxi-Grip Plus option which can support up to 150kg and has adjustable angles for ease of use — the kind of rail chosen will vary depending on the needs of the user.
For more information or advice about installing accessible showering solutions, visit www.impeyshowers.com