Walk-in bathtub's have been marketed as the end-all solution for your home bathing needs. Recently experts have started having doubts about walk-in bath tub's design.
Rhonda Bonecutter with HommeAbility recently researched the issues with Walk-In Bath Tubs. Bonecutter is the founder of the Homeability blog and an occupational therapist with over 29 years of experience, helping thousands.
From her first-hand experience:
"After all I’ve witnessed as an occupational therapist and home ability specialist, I would strongly urge potential buyers to proceed with caution, as there can be more inconveniences, safety risks and hidden costs present than apparent at first sight."
It is easy to forget that when entering a walk-in tub is that you cannot prepare the bathtub full of hot water before climbing in and you also have to wait until the water has been fully drained from the tub to exit.
From Bonecutter's experience: "To put this more bluntly – once you have stepped into the bathtub naked and pulled the door closed behind you, you will find yourself waiting up to 10 minutes (or sometimes even more) for the water to rise slowly from your toes upwards. Then at the tail end of the bath, you’ll again be waiting as much as 10 minutes or more while sitting naked, cold, and wet waiting for the tub to empty. "
She continues "Also be aware that in most walk-in bathtubs, you’ll find yourself sitting in a bolt upright position for the duration of the bath, and not in the relaxing, reclined position you might be imagining. Furthermore, if you are of an average or above average height, there is a good chance that only the lower half of your body will be fully submerged. So if you are envisioning warm water soothing your aching back, neck and shoulders, you are likely to be left feeling sorely disappointed "
The Mangar Bathing Cushion offers a simple solution for this problem. The cushion inflates beneath you in your own unchanged bath. Avoiding the uncomfortable "bolt upright position" of walk-in bathtubs with its adjustable, customizable cushion. Simply inflate each section until you have reached your ideal firmness. All of these features are unavailable in your home's walk-in bathtub or while traveling.
Bonecutter continues " A “Walk-in” tub, as the name implies, requires you to be able to walk. In fact, you need to be able to walk fairly steadily and stably, as many walk-in tubs still have a step you must raise your feet over, a narrow doorway to pass through, and a door to contend with while you’re entering and exiting. If you are someone who relies on a walker for added stability when getting around inside the house, then this is likely to be more stepping and maneuvering than you will feel safe and comfortable doing."
"A glaring safety issue for walk-in style bathtubs with inward-opening doors is that in the event there is a medical emergency, it’s not possible to get out of the tub without first letting all the water drain out – and these tubs can hold up to 40-80 gallons of water! A salesperson may try to sell you on the idea that a walk-in tub with a larger drain will allow the water to empty more quickly, but be aware your home’s existing plumbing also plays a critical role in the speed the water will drain out. "
When it comes to your safety entering and exiting the bathtub, the Mangar Bathing cushion provides an unmatched option to use your own unchanged bathtub. There are many products available for those who struggle with transitions in and out of a tub. But, transitions into a walk-in tub are much more complicated. In the second part, the walk-in tub's 40-80 gallons of water is an unavoidable hindrance to emergency medical attention. To avoid this potential life threatening problem, a walk-in tub can include an additional enlarged drain. This additional enlarged drain and additional necessary plumbing upgrades will quickly make your new walk-in bathtub an increasingly expensive investment.
"Typically a walk-in tub has high walls, a narrow doorway, a few inch threshold and cramped, tight quarters, which when combined together can best be described as an “ergonomic nightmare” for a caregiver. The tub’s narrow interior can make it almost impossible for a caregiver to position themselves safely by your side to assist you when you’re moving into and out of the tub. To make matters worse you will be wearing little or no clothing when they assist you in and out, giving them very little to hold on to. At the end of the bath it will be even worse – because you will be slippery and wet as well! And if you need help with bathing itself, they will now have reach awkwardly over a high tub wall to assist you."
"A salesperson might tell you they offer a model that has no threshold or a wider door. These features will help make it easier to get in and out; however, there is still a door to contend with, a high tub wall, and narrow interior, which will still make it problematic for a caregiver to be able to use good body mechanics to help you sit down and stand up from the seat inside, and safely walk in and out of the tub."
The Mangar Bathing Cushion is an easy solution for this problem. Depending upon your bathroom's design, your traditional tub should offer access for a caregiver.
The largest fundamental design flaw is the walk-in tub's tall wall separating you and the bath seat. This tall wall creates an unmovable barrier between you and your wheelchair or transitioning device.
"This wall creates a permanent barrier, leaving you with only one option for getting in and out – namely to walk in and out. This is fine if you can always walk easily, but what if you can’t? Does it mean you aren’t going to want to have a bath or shower? Many people who are recovering from a surgery, stroke, weakness due to cancer or balance problems or due to Parkinson’s disease need to rely on a ‘lateral-sliding transfer’ to transition between surfaces. This means they move by scooting their bottom from one seated surface (e.g. a wheelchair seat) over to another surface, like a bathtub bench placed inside a standard bathtub (see picture). And in many cases, people can do this independently. Unfortunately, the walk-in tub’s wall makes it impossible to slide sideways onto the seat inside.
A walk-in bathtub can range in cost from $6,000-$17,000 installed. This is a lot of money for a solution that has a high risk of blocking your ability to access the tub/shower at all in the future – relegating you instead to watching the layers of dust grow in your expensive so-called “accessible” bathtub – while you are sadly taking sponge baths at the bathroom sink!"
Clearly these 4 misconceptions will raise questions about choosing an expensive walk-in bathtub to permanently install in your bathroom.
The Mangar Bathing Cushion offers unmatched convenience and independence at a fraction of the cost.
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