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Bathing Safety Equipment


Maintaining proper hygiene is an important factor in living independently. Bathing or showering is also a therapeutic activity, easing stiff and aching muscles and joints. However, bathing can also increase injury risk as hard, wet and soapy surfaces create hazardous conditions.

One of the most common problems older adults encounter is maintaining balance when bathing. For many, climbing in and out of the bathtub, and getting up from the bathtub floor, are both difficult and dangerous. Standing while showering can also be fatiguing to adults with chronic illnesses.

GEM tested many bathing products for ease of use and safety, including bath benches and chairs, shower hoses, grab bars, and anti-scald devices. In many instances, we found that manufacturers did not give sufficient information to purchase, install and use bathing products correctly. At times, products came with incomplete instructions or no instructions at all.

Our test results showed that simple bathing products must be properly specified for individual capabilities and the limitations of the products understood or injury risk may be increased. The following tip sheets can help you or your client choose an appropriate bathing product. A resource list is located at the end of the section.

Medicare does not cover the cost of any bathing equipment, including bath seats, hand held showers or grab bars.

GEM gratefully acknowledges the support of the Isaac H. Tuttle Fund, Ira M. Resnick Foundation, Langeloth Foundation, and the Weill Medical College of Cornell University for this Section.

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New York-Presbyterian. The University Hospitals of Columbia and Cornell