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More Info on Handicap Access Bathrooms

Posted 08-19-2009 at 09:12 AM by faucetman886

As I mentioned in one of my blogs last week, two of my most frequently accessed articles are ones written about the conversion of an existing bathroom to ADA standards or the one about building a handicap bathroom from scratch. I wrote these articles from personal experience because of my own disability situation. It is hard for a well bodied person to understand the barriers that exist to perform even the simplest of daily functions when one is handicapped. Bathing, using the bathroom, or simply washing ones hands can become a real trial without help or in a non handicap friendly facility. I was at our local health clinic (a place where you would expect to be in compliance) on this past Monday and found the bathroom to be so small that one could not get in it with straddling the toilet to get the door shut and it had an old low high toilet. The staff though it funny. I saw it as almost impossible to use. I donít know how they have gotten away with it except those of us who have to avail ourselves of some charity, when it comes to health care, are wont to complain for fear of losing their access to the care.
I get so many people reading my blogs on this subject that I though today I would give another personís opinion in the hope that it will provide something that I missed. The following info comes from the following web link for which I give total credit and thanks for the information:

Bathroom Safety is Good for Everyone
Modifying a bathroom for someone with mobility issues has a number of benefits: It aids independent living. To be able to care for oneís personal needs without assistance instills a sense of pride and independence. It maintains strength. Pushing up on support bars or lifting oneís body weight from the tub keeps muscles active. It helps in-home caregivers. Adults helping those with disabilities rely on grab bars and transfer benches to keep both their charges and themselves secure and stable. It creates a safe place for both adults and children. Toilet seat lights, grab bars, and no-slip safety strips help the entire family stay safe in the bathroom.
Other types of modifications for safety and accessibility include:
Raised toilet seats
Walk in tub systems
Water temperature testers
No-slip safety strips
Personal care aids

Guidelines for Bathroom Designs for the Elderly and Handicapped
In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act developed building guidelines for public facilities and businesses to follow in order to accommodate individuals with disabilities. These standards provide helpful insight into what homeowners can do as well.
The University of Missouriís Extension Office website also offers detailed diagrams and installation advice, as do many bathroom fixture manufacturers.

General Considerations
Here are some basic guidelines for bathroom designs for the elderly and handicapped:
Install grab bars parallel to the floor, not diagonally, alongside the toilet and in the tub/shower area. Adding a vertical grab bar inside the bathing area is also a good idea.
Vanities should be open under the sink to accommodate wheelchairs and benches.
Countertops should be 30-34 inches high for someone in a wheelchair, and 40 inches high for someone who has trouble bending.
Toilets in an accessible bathroom should be approximately 18 inches high, although seat extenders can help achieve this.
Mirrors should be hung lengthwise, along the back of the sink, not at standing eye level.
Bathing benches should be two-to-four inches smaller than the tub width to avoid puncturing the side walls.
Change out bath fixtures and door handles to accommodate reduced hand coordination and grip.
Make sure thereís plenty of room around the toilet for wheelchair maneuverability.
Door entrances should be 32 to 36 inches wide.
While a non-slip surface is perfect for a bath or shower, investigate the option of complete non slip flooriing. Just make sure that the surface is easy to roll across in a wheelchair.
Eliminate the clutter. Decorative knick-knacks on countertops, extension cords, and hampers may impede the progress of someone with a disability to conduct business efficiently.
Adjust lighting based on the individualís needs. Lighting may have to be lowered or brightened, or additional light sources may have to be added. Reposition all switches, too.
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