Barrier Free/Bathrooms

Doors: Doors can be a pathway to a whole new world or the gateway to lost possibilities. Widen doorway to a minimum of 36" to maximize ease of entry and exit. If this is not possible, widen doorways 30" and use swing-away door hinges. Use pocket doors (doors that slide into the wall) whenever feasible to promote access
Flooring: Utilize non-skid flooring materials to minimize falls and injury

Grab Bars: Grab bars are designed to provide a stable handhold to help prevent persons from falling and injuring themselves as well as aiding a person to sit on and to stand up from a toilet. This is particularly helpful in a slippery environment. There are currently a wide variety of grab bar styles and colors in the consumer market. This will allow one to choose a style that matches the décor of their bathroom. Mount grab bars at appropriate locations and heights. If you are unsure as to where and what height to mount a grab bar, contact an occupational therapist or a building contractor familiar with ANSI 117-a regulations.

Sinks: Sinks should be mounted at a height that allows a person sitting at a sink or a wheelchair user to fit under the sink; usually a 30" under-sink clearance is necessary. Wall mounted sinks provide the greatest access Insulate exposed pipes to prevent accidental burns Levered handles should be used at the sink. Closed fist operation is helpful for persons with arthritis. It is a good idea to install an anti-scald device to further prevent accidental burns

Bathtub & Shower: Installation of grab bars are highly recommended to prevent falls and injuries in this slippery environment A tub bench or a showerseat (integrated or separate) is helpful to those who are unable to stand or for those unable to stand for lengthy periods of time. A tub-transfer bench also provides additional safety and prevention from falls A hand-held showerhead is particularly useful in the bathing environment. These showerheads let you bathe while sitting, get water to those hard to reach areas and even help clean the bathing area. It is a good idea to install an anti-scald device to prevent accidental burns from water that is too hot Levered handles should be used to control water flow. Closed fist operation is helpful for persons with arthritis


Toilet: Grab bars can be used around the toilet to help with stability while sitting onto and standing from the toilet Elevated toilets, ADA standard, can help those people who have difficulty sitting or bending If buying a new toilet is cost prohibitive, buying a raised-toilet seat or a 3-in-1 commode is an inexpensive option If you are planning to use a rolling shower/commode wheelchair, keep in mind that these wheelchairs will not roll over elevated toilets

Other Considerations: Install a telephone that can be reached from the floor in the bathroom. In case of a fall, you can readily call for help. A less expensive alternative is to bring in a cordless telephone whenever you bathe. Cabinetry handles should facilitate ease of opening drawers and doors. Closed fist operation is a good rule of thumb Mount the toilet-tissue holder at an appropriate distance Provide brighter lights to help those with impaired vision Mirrors should be mounted at a height that a seated person can view themselves. If remounting a mirror is not feasible, tilting the existing mirror at a downward angle will also work For additional solutions, contact the PVA or an occupational therapist for more information