04. 03. 2020
Aged care facilities need to be designed with their residents in mind. This isn’t just true in the care offered, or the bedroom layout. Bathrooms must also be taken into consideration to offer aged individuals the ability to control their own surroundings and how they navigate through them in order to ensure that they are as independent as they can be for as long as possible. Bathrooms in aged homes must also take into account that some residents may need caregivers to assist with certain bathroom tasks, so making a space easy to maneuver - sometimes for two or three people - is extremely important.
Making bathrooms easier to navigate
When it comes to designing for the needs of aged residents, facilities need to make sure that a person can easily navigate the space on their own. This means:
- Ensuring floor surfaces are non-slip and nothing is obstructing the floor area.
- Grab rails are available at strategic points to make it easier to use the facilities.
- Accessories such as taps are designed to be easy to use. That means opting for lever taps over twist taps, which may be challenging for some individuals.
- Toilet heights are raised to accommodate users.
- Wall-mounted shampoo and soap dispensers are within easy reach and eliminate the need to bar soap or shampoo bottles which can be dropped or cause tripping hazards.
- Frameless showers are installed to further eliminate the likelihood of trips or falls.
- The bathrooms space and doorways should be large enough to accommodate assistance devices such as walkers or wheelchairs.
- Having room for lifting devices to help caregivers with tasks such as washing residents.
Small details like raising the toilet height or simply having enough space to navigate a bathroom will make all the difference for residents with mobility issues.
Signs you need to renovate
If you are looking at a bathroom from the perspective of those who use it, you’ll need to consider the space and what may be lacking for those that have mobility or health challenges. Any barriers to the ease of use for an elderly individual may be a sign it’s time to renovate. Here are a few important things to ask yourself.
Is the bathroom accessible?
This is an important item to consider. Ask yourself: if the resident has a walker or wheelchair, can they easily enter and navigate around the bathroom? Does the shower have an opening that accommodates both walkers and wheelchairs?
Is the area safe?
Slip and falls are dangerous for anyone, but elderly residents are especially susceptible and can seriously injure themselves. Ask yourself if the bathroom helps prevent a resident from falling by looking for strategically placed grab rails (on the wall, in the shower/bathtub, and near the toilet). Also, consider the bathtub/shower area. Can a resident slip or trip while trying to enter/exit the shower area? If so, it may need to be adjusted to reduce the likelihood of falls.
Is the bathroom easy to use?
Elderly residents may have health issues, such as arthritis, or mobility issues that would prevent them from using the bathroom otherwise. Look at items such as the bathroom taps. For example, twist taps might be difficult for a person with severe arthritis to turn. Paddle-type accessories are much easier to use. Having detachable shower heads make showering easier for an elderly individual (and their caretaker) as well. Also, think about how an elderly individual may access everything from hand towels to the vanity. Everything should be designed so items are easy to reach and to use from both a standing and sitting position.
Don’t forget to consider how the bathroom looks and how it might make a person feel. If a bathroom has some basic mobility accessories for an aged individual, but it still appears:
- Unwelcoming or clinical
- Dark, or dingy
- Mouldy or dated
- Worn down, or contains broken or cracked tiles, mirrors, etc.
It might be a good idea to find ways to update the space to make it feel a bit warmer and more modern.
If you look at your aged-care bathroom and find that it’s not well laid out for those with mobility issues, or if it feels unwelcome or dingy, then it’s time to consider updating the space.
Crystal Bathrooms is ready to assist
At Crystal Bathrooms, we’re experts at creating specialised bathrooms for many types of facilities. We understand that aged-care organisations need special attention given to them so that the final products meet the needs of those that have specific mobility challenges. We also understand the legal requirements and can help you design and build an aged care bathroom that will meet and exceed your resident’s expectations while being outfitted up to the latest codes.
Making our aged loved ones feel comfortable and safe in aged care facilities helps improve their quality of life and will go a long way to making individuals feel welcome and at home. With our years of experience and our NDIS approval rating, we’re well qualified to assist.
Have questions or need advice? Speak to the team at Crystal Bathrooms to see how we can help renovate your aged care facility bathrooms.