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Bathing Safety Equipment

Transfer Benches

A transfer bench is appropriate for frail individuals or those with limited mobility who are at risk for falls. The user enters the tub by sliding across the bench instead of stepping over the tub wall.

Photo Courtesy of Rubbermaid Healthcare Products
A seat cutout makes it easier to access personal areas as one does not have to stand to wash. A person needs good sitting posture to use this type of chair as one has to purposefully sit upright to keep from sliding into the hole.

If the bathtub has sliding glass doors, replace them with a shower curtain before using. Sliding doors block access to the tub, whereas a curtain provides the needed room to lift and swing one's legs over the tub.

Using a Shower Curtain with a Transfer Bench

When using a transfer bench, it is important to keep water from spraying onto the floor. The transfer benches we tested had seats with built-in slots, but the assembly instructions lacked any information on this feature. Only upon contacting the manufacturers were we instructed on how to use the slot with a shower curtain:

  1. cut two slits in the shower curtain and;
  2. insert the cut-out into the seat's built-in slot.

For adults with limited upper body movement, consider cutting out the midsection completely so that the shower curtain can be easily slid across the top of the chair (without using the slot).

Some adults use the tub bench's side arm rail to hold onto while getting in and out of the tub. In this case, it is important to buy a well-made, durable model that will last over time.

Cost is $70 - $200.

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