As important as your approach to the resident is, the physical environment of the bathing area is also important. There are a broad range of products, many of which are featured in the CD-ROM and video, that can help make the bathing experience more pleasant and safer - for both you and the person you are assisting. If you know what you are interested in, choose from a category below to access manufacturer websites. Otherwise, please scroll down to view the available categories of featured products.
This section was developed in consultation with
I.D.E.A.S., Inc.



Grab Bars

Grab bars are important safety features. There are tub-mounted grab bars, wall-mounted grab bars, folding versions, and suction cup-mounted version.

Tub-Mounted Grab Bars

Wall-Mounted Grab Bars

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Acoustic Treatments

Bathing areas usually have lots of hard surfaces, and can be very noisy, which may disturb some individuals. Acoustic attenuation can be provided through products that spray on the ceilings, or through specialized acoustic panels that can be applied to walls and/or ceiling, with cleanable/moisture-resistant coverings that are appropriate in a damp environment like a tub room.

Acoustic Panels

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Heating Options for Bathrooms

Several options are available for keeping the bathing area warm. These options include: radiant heat panels, which are applied to the walls or ceiling; infrared heat lamps, which come with optional lights and fans; and heating elements that are installed under tile floors.

Radiant Heat Panels

Infrared Heat Lamps

Heated Bathroom Floors

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Towel Warmers

Warm towels feel wonderful after a bath or shower, especially when the weather or the facility is cool. There are two types of towel warmers: heated bars upon which towels hang; and warming cabinets. Be aware that towels get hot and can cause burns. Warming cabinets are safer and can accommodate larger numbers of towels, but they are also more costly and take up more space.

Heated Towel Bars

Warming Cabinets

Imperial Surgical (514.631.7988), no website

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Shower Stools & Chairs

In the shower, many people find it helpful to have something to sit down on. Some are attached to the wall--while others are freestanding stools that cna be placed in the shower when needed. Still others look more like chairs and provide a back to lean back against--which can be helpful if someone gets tired easily.

Wall-Mounted, Fold-Down Shower Seats

Stools for Shower

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Shower Wheelchairs

When someone is not mobile, it can be useful to have a wheelchair that will roll into the shower. Some of these products are highly adjustable and can help the caregiver assist the person in undressing and preparing for the shower.

Shower Wheelchairs

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Specialized Tubs

Tubs come in a number of basic configurations. Two key differentiating factors include whether the person is bathed sitting or lying down, and whether the person goes in through a door or by way of a lift. In selecting a tub, you'll need to determine the needs of the population being served. A more physically disabled population may find sitting up difficult. However, lying down tubs almost always require a lift or gurney of some type, which can be more frightening, particularly for cognitively impaired residents.

In selecting a tub, consider these issues:

  • With seated baths, the person's chest and shoulders are often above water,which is chilly;
  • Tubs with doors mostly fill after the person has entered the tub, so it can be difficult to check the temperature of the water before it starts filling.

All tubs have scald-prevention water mixers and sanitation systems.

Variable features include: whirlpool or hydrosound jets, hair washing "shower" wands, height adjustment, the filling system, the way the water temperature is set; and the lift system.

Seated Baths with Entry Door
Side entry tubs are the type of specialized tub most commonly used for persons with dementia who can ambulate or transfer from a chair. A variety of different models are available, including panels that pull up from below or raise over the person's head, and panels that open in door-like fashion on the side or end of the tub.

Side panel that pulls up from below: (Freedom Bath)
- Seat at chair height
-Can be operated by bather
-Tub fills after side is raised and secured
- Fits in standard tub recess

Side panel that raises overhead: (Parker Tub)
- Seat at chair height
- Foot well pre-filled with water
- Tub reclines to transfer water to main section of tub

Door-like side panel that swings open: (IH3600) (Liberti) (Catalina)
- Seat at chair height
- Fills after panel is closed

Side panel that swings to top of tub: (IH2001; IH 3750)
- Fills after side panel is closed
- Fits in standard tub recess

End panel that swings open: (Millennium) (Simplicity II, Dignity II, Simple Performer II, Space Performer II)

Seated Baths without Entry Door
Other seated tubs do not have openings for entry. These tubs require a lift for use. They are pre-filled before the bather gets in. (Century sit bath) (Sierra)

Baths Where the Person Lies Back
Some of these tubs allow the person to be bathed in the recumbent position. These tubs are particularly useful for persons who are bedridden or who cannot be transferred comfortably. Some models allow you to raise or lower the tub, for easier caregiver access.

Fixed height models: (IH4300) (Porpoise) (Revolution)

Adjustable height models: (Rhapsody) (Ventura) (IH6300) (Aquamax) (Dolphin) (Revolution with tilt feature)

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Lifts for use with Bathtubs

A number of lifts are available to get people in and out of tubs. These include solid-seat systems and sling-style systems. The solid seat systems are designed for use in tubs, and the sling systems generally are not; so solid seat systems are preferred.

Lifts for use with Bathtubs

Solid-seat lifts:

Sling-style lifts: (suitable for tub-home use)

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Tub Transfer Seats

For residential tubs, there are a number of benches that sit inside the tub and extend to or beyond the edge of the tub to facilitate transferring into and out of the tub. Fancier tubs chairs have a sliding or swivel seat to make transferring easier.

There are also products that combine a transfer bench and lowered bath seat, with cut out in padded vinyl seat. Some of these are mechanical to help the person raise and lower in the tub, while others are comprised of benches at different levels.


Sliding Tub Chair

Combination Transfer Bench/Bath Seat

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In-room Bath Products

For someone who cannot get to the tub, there are inflatable tubs that fit on most beds. For filling, they either use a faucet or water bag.

Sometimes it is best not to do a traditional bath or shower to get clean. An alternative is rinse-free soaps, which are quite valuable in many situations. Products with rinse-free soaps include disposable cloths, which can be heated in the microwave, and similar products for cleaning up after incontinence episodes. There are also rinse free soap concentrates and foams that are used with regular washcloths.

Inflatable Bed Tubs

Rinseless Bath Products

Disposable cloths:

No-rinse soaps:

Rinseless incontinence products for perineal cleaning:

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Hair Washing Products

A number of specialized hair washing products are available. These include a hair "pool" for bed-based hair washing; rinse-free shampoo; a fabric shampoo "cape" that can be attached to a chair and sink for seated hair washing; rinse trays for in-room hair washing; a water bag that carries up to 2 gallons of water on a pole; a no-rinse shower cap; and a turban that keeps the hair dry and head warm or gently dries wet hair after shampooing.

Hair Washing Products

Bag and inflatable hair washing basin for bed-based hair washing:

Rinse-free shampoo:

Fabric shampoo cape:

Shower rinse trays:

No-rinse shower cap:

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Contact Us: Julia Thorp
Last Updated: September 27, 2010

A joint production of the Cecil G. Sheps Center of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Oregon Health and Science University in conjunction with the Institute of Aging of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and EO Studios, Inc., Athens GA

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