Statistically, 80% of home injuries occur in the bathroom. Of those injuries, most were attributed to falls in the bathtub or shower. Injuries can range from scrapes and bruises to spinal cord injuries or even death. As we age, we become less able to balance ourselves, especially on a slippery surface. Certain health conditions can make taking a shower or bath a challenge as well.
A tub transfer bench allows the person to enter and exit the shower easily and safely. This bath assistive aid straddles the bathtub (two legs outside of the tub and two legs inside of the tub) and allows the user to slide into and out of the tub with or without assistance. A tub transfer bench is wider than a shower chair and normally has adjustable legs to accommodate any bathtub. When looking to purchase a transfer bench you should look for one that is reversible so that it can fit into any shower/bathtub configuration. It should have suction cups so that it is secure once inside the tub.
A bath bench should be made of a non-corrosive metal so that constant use will not allow it to rust. Usually, it is better to choose one made of aluminum vs plastic as the aluminum is stronger. The seat on the tub bench should be made of molded plastic with drain holes or can be padded.
Most bathtub transfer benches will accommodate a person who weighs between 300-400lbs. If the customer needs a larger bench due to weight, they will need to look for a “bariatric” tub transfer bench. When purchasing, also look for one with a shower curtain guard so that water does not spill out onto the bathroom floor while showering.
The height of the tub bench is also important. It should be adjustable so that the person does not have to strain to reach or does not have to drop down to the seat when going to sit. Most of the tub transfer benches are foldable for storage when not in use.
1. Padded vs Unpadded Benches - As it would imply, a padded bench is much more comfortable than an unpadded seat. If you are thin or boney, you may want to choose a padded bench. Padded benches are more expensive as well. However, an unpadded bench is normally easier for one to shift from one end to the other.
2. Standard Weight Capacity vs Bariatric Benches - Normal weight capacity for tub benches is between 300-400 pounds. If a person exceeds this weight, they will need a bariatric bench to support them. A good rule of thumb is to choose a bariatric tub transfer bench if the client exceeds a weight of 250lbs.
3. Bench with or without a back - Having a back on the bench gives an added feature of support. It is especially warranted if a person has poor upper body strength. It is sometimes just a matter of comfort for the person using the bench. A bench with a back will be only slightly more expensive than without.
4. Adjustable vs Fixed Height - A tub transfer bench with adjustable legs will be a bit more expensive than one with fixed legs, however, it will be worth the added expense. Each client has a different height requirement or configuration in their bathroom. A transfer bench with adjustable legs will allow you to customize the bench for the client.
5. Suction cups on the legs vs without - It is highly recommended to purchase a tube transfer bench with suction cups for the portion that will be inside of the tub. This will give added security to the product so that it does not slide or move while the person is using it. If you cannot find one with suction cups, sometimes you can purchase just the cups for the legs and add them. Health Products For You has a large selection of transfer benches to suit all your needs!
Author Profile: Laura Castricone, Respiratory Therapist
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