Accessible bathtubs. Walk-in bathtubs
Slip and fall accidents are the number one home accident in America and a large percentage of these occur in the bathroom. Getting in and out of tubs is especially hazardous for older people, people with limited mobility and the disabled. Even with the installation of grab bars, hand grips and anti-slip floors there is always the risk of injury. The use of lifts that lower and raise the bather in the water is one way of lowering the risk of injury by eliminating the need to climb into and out of the bathtub. Another option is to install an accessible walk-in bath. All walk-in baths still have a low step-in.
The design of a walk-in bath does not allow the user to recline, only to sit on a seat which may be fixed or adjustable for height. Some slide-in bathtubs (often equipped with a sliding door instead of a swing door) allow for bathing in a reclined position.
HYDROTHERAPY & WHIRLPOOL WALK-IN TUBS
Some manufacturers quote articles published by the Arthritis Foundation, The New England Journal of Medicine and the National Sleep Foundation as saying that hydrotherapy baths can help with the following ailments.
- Arthritis. (Improving joint movements. Relieving pain and stiffness)
- High blood pressure
- Muscle cramps
- Tension and stress. (Stress interferes with the body's immune system. Hydrotherapy can play a major role in stress relief by providing relaxation, lowering blood pressure, and accelerating the flow of oxygen)
- Poor circulation
- Sciatica. (Possible relief from pain caused by a herniated disc, osteoarthritis of the lumbosacral spine, dislocated hip, spinal stenosis, or general pressure resulting from postural abnormalities)
- Insomnia. (Taking a bath a few hours before bedtime will help you sleep better)
INWARD OPENING DOORS
Swing-in doors sometimes require the user to move around the door in order to close it. While this may be not so important for most users a bigger issue is that a person may get trapped in the tub when dealing with a medical emergency. See also TIP.
Swing-in doors can not accidentally be opened because of the pressure of the water on the door. An inward opening door is "self-sealing" due to the pressure of the water inside the bath.
OUTWARD OPENING DOORS
Swing-out doors may make it easier to access the tub. Special water-tight seals and locking hardware will keep the water in the tub and off the bathroom floor. In an emergency it is easy to get the user out the tub. See also TIP.
Some outward opening doors risk seal and lock failure and have been known to flood the bathroom.
Outward opening doors require large clearances and the bather must reach and lean out to close the door which could increase the risk of falling.