A Guide to Bath Lifts
Written by Thom Brookes on 15 November 2017
The following is a brief and basic guide to the types of product that can help people who might need some support when getting in and out of the bath, but not to the extent of needing a full bath hoist. However, please note that every individual's needs are different. Customers should therefore base their purchasing decisions on the user's particular needs and preferences and, where appropriate, upon advice from medical and care professionals.
What is a Bath Lift?
A bath lift is a powered device that helps people who may have limited strength or movement to get into and out of their bath. It normally comprises a seat and backrest, together with an electrically controlled lift mechanism that is safe to use in water. Most systems are essentially mechanical but there are alternative systems that use compressed air and inflatable chambers that lift or lower the user as required.
For many people, the most strenuous and potentially dangerous elements of bathing are the times when they must step over the edge of the bath and either lower themselves down or stand up. The bath lift takes care of these crucial stages. It starts with the seat raised so that it is level with the top of the bath, which means that the user can easily slide across and assume a comfortable position over the bath water. A handset is then used to control the descent into the water. When the user has finished bathing, the same hand controls are then used to lift the chair back up so the user can safely get out again.
The following are some of the questions you might like to ask when choosing a bath lift.
- Fit - will the system fit within the bath without jamming or catching the sides?
- Strength - is it strong enough to lift the heaviest intended user?
- Safety - does it affix securely to the bath to minimise the risk of slipping?
- Reliability - does it providing any warning or perform any checks to test if the battery is low?
- Comfort - is the seat comfortable and the backrest supportive? Does it give enough leg room?
- Cushioning - can it be used with padded covers for extra comfort?
- Adjustability - will the backrest recline easily and to the required degree?
- Convenience - can it be removed easily if others wish to use the bath?
- Simplicity - are the controls easy to use and understand?
- Portability - can the system be disassembled and is it light enough to take on holiday?
- Maximum height - will it raise the seat high enough to reach the edge of the bath?
- Minimum height - how low will it go? The lower it will sink, the less hot water is needed.
- Hygiene - is it easy to clean the various components?
- Aesthetics - does it match the style of the user's bathroom?
- Noise - does it operate quietly and discreetly?
- Versatility - can it be used in unusual bath designs, such as corner baths?
- Ease of transfer - does it have an in-built rotating swivel seat to aid with transfers?
- Accessories - can you easily buy spares and replacements if anything goes wrong?
A bath lift can be controlled with a simple handset, which means that people with a reasonable degree of mobility can use the system unaided and in privacy. For those people who may be at greater risk of falls or who may not have the necessary freedom of movement to use the system, a bath hoist might be a more suitable alternative.