According to the CDC, most unintentional falls happen in the bathroom, mainly in the shower. Many of these falls could have been prevented by simply using a shower chair.
As a nurse, I frequently get asked questions about the types of shower chairs and how to use them. I will share and answer some of these questions so you can pick the best shower chair for you or your loved one and use it safely.
Types of Shower Chairs
A shower chair is a specialized chair used to provide support during the shower and increase the safety of the person who is using the chair. There are several different types of shower chairs, so we will start by explaining some of them to you.
A shower chair generally has four legs with rubberized feet for stability. Though some can be rolling or mechanical, they will look different. Here are some of the basic types of shower chairs:
How Do You Use a Shower Chair
So, you have decided which shower chair is best and now have the chair placed in the shower or bathtub.
These steps will help you use the basic shower chair.
- 1Make sure you look at manufacturer guidelines for setting up your chair and that you have it adjusted to a good height for the person using the chair.
- 2It is always good to practice using the chair before taking a shower.
- 3Use a grab bar to step into the bathtub or shower. You can face the grab bar and either bring your leg up or bend at the knee to bring your legs into the tub.
- 4With the back of your legs touching the chair, reach back, hold the chair, and gently lower yourself onto the chair.
- 5Adjust yourself, making sure you are in the center of the chair.
- 6Once you have completed your shower or bath, you can reverse the steps to get back out of the tub, using the grab bar for safety.
Use the chair in the way it is designed. If you have a basic chair, get into the tub before sitting down; if you try to sit first, the chair could tip. If you have difficulty getting into the tub, a transfer bench may be better suited.
These steps will help you use a transfer bench:
- 1Again, make sure you look at manufacturer guidelines for setting up your transfer bench and that you have it adjusted to a good height for the person using the chair. Additionally, since this type of chair has two legs in the tub and two legs out of the tub, ensure the height clears the side of the bathtub.
- 2When you approach this chair from the outside of the tub, you will turn around with the back of your legs touching the side of the chair, and you will again reach back as you would sitting in a regular chair and carefully sit down.
- 3Scoot back into the chair and pivot your bottom, bring one leg into the tub, scoot slightly more, then bring the other leg into the tub.
- 4Once in the tub, scoot yourself to the center of the chair.
- 5Note that there is a slit in the edge of a transfer bench; this slit is for you to pull your shower curtain and gently tuck it into to prevent water from coming out of the shower.
- 6Again, you will repeat these steps in reverse to get out of the shower.
For the other chairs, make sure you follow manufacturing guidelines for using the chair. If needed, have your physician refer you to a physical or occupational therapist to assist you in getting the correct chair for your needs and train you to use the chair properly.
Tips to Use Your Shower Chair Safely
Safe use of the shower chair is essential for reducing falls or injuries when a person is using their shower chair. Here is a list of things to consider when using a chair: