What Is an Accessible Bathtub?

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  • Written By: Eugene P.
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 14 January 2019
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An accessible bathtub is designed to allow a person who has difficulty moving to get in and out of the tub without the assistance of another person. This can be achieved by installing a door on the normally solid side of the tub, lowering the height of the tub or installing some type of mechanical device to move the person into the bathtub. Usually, an accessible bathtub is part of a wider bathroom design centered on allowing someone with disabilities to use all of the features safely and independently.

One accessible bathtub design that has proven itself over the years is a walk-in tub. These are tubs on which either a small section of the wall or the entire wall of the tub is hinged and opens like a door. This allows a person to move into the tub without having to extend or raise the legs more than when walking. Once the person is inside the tub, the doors close and are waterproof, allowing the tub to be filled and used normally.


Wheelchair-accessible bathtubs can be similar in design to walk-in tubs, with a wide swinging door that allows access to the bath. There also are designs that have an automated lift chair installed. This allows a person in a wheelchair to move directly to the front of the bathtub, slide into the lift chair, and then be gently carried over the edge of the tub and down into it. Some of these types of lift-chair bathtubs also include automatic doors.

Many handicapped-accessible bathtubs also include other features that can help to make showering safe for someone who has difficulty moving. These can take the form of multiple reinforced shower bars inside the tub or tall railings to help a person get through the door. Built-in elements such as seats or non-slip grips on the floor also can help to make the tub a safer place to be. Faucet controls can be modified so they are located in more than one place or otherwise easier to use.

As opposed to when accessible bathtubs first appeared in the homes of those who needed them, the aesthetic design of the baths has caught up to standard bathtubs. One example is an accessible bathtub that is made of glass, giving a modern look. There also are tubs that resemble classic claw-foot tubs with the door hidden in the metalwork. These options can make owning and using an accessible bathtub more appealing.



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