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How to reduce the risk of falls in the bathroom

14th February 2014

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

The bathroom is a hazardous place at the best of times, with even the slightest bit of spilled water potentially posing danger if it is not cleared up quickly. The dangers can be all the more pronounced if the user suffers from mobility issues, with any lack of balance increasing the risk of accidents. With this mind, here are some great bathroom ideas which will provide further safety for those who are less mobile.

Making a clear path

We start our list of bathroom ideas in the corridor and, while it may seem obvious, clearing a path to and from the bathroom is a sure-fire way of improving levels of safety. Whether it’s a laundry basket, a pair of shoes or even some paperwork that you have forgotten to put away, this should always be moved out of the way if there are elderly residents in the home, in the same way that you would remove any clutter around the top or bottom of a home stairlift. If your bathroom is located at the end of a corridor which isn’t particularly well lit, it may be a good idea to install some extra lighting; you could purchase an adhesive battery-powered push light as a quick fix for this.

Safety bars are your best friend

While you may have already had a functional walk in bath installed in your bathroom, the fact that mobility issues cause problems with balance means that a fall could still happen at any time. This is why the installation of safety bars is one of the most popular bathroom ideas in terms of safety, providing stability when it is needed most. In terms of positioning, it’s always best to put them at arm height on the nearest wall to the bath door so they can be easily reached. Don’t think that a towel rail will serve as an appropriate replacement, as they will not be able to support much weight and using them for support could result in a serious accident. A quick fix could be to purchase a U-shaped safety rail which clamps around the side of the bath easily and offers good levels of support.

Invest in non-slip matting

As mentioned earlier, even the smallest amount of water could pose a serious slipping risk, especially on lino which isn’t known for its grip. Some non-slip matting could provide an ideal solution - material that offers huge amounts of grip even when placed on a wet floor. These usually work through a series of plastic suck-pads on the bottom, sticking to the bathroom floor to ensure that it doesn’t slip the minute pressure is applied. If you want to add an extra level of safety, you could remove the lino or tiled floor and replace it with carpeted floor tiles; while having carpet in a bathroom is not usually popular, its added safety benefits means that it can be a lifesaver.

Main Image Credit: gualtiero boffi (Shutterstock.com)

Article Image Credit:  Ben Carlson (Shutterstock.com)