Consumer research for older and disabled people

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Bath boards

Using a bath board

  • check you can lift each leg over the bath rim of the bath while sitting on the bath board without losing balance
  • you can wash from the board, although you will be above the water - you'll want a warm bathroom
  • if you plan to shower from the board, check that you can reach the controls
  • you can't use a board with a shower screen

Safety

  • get the right size, so there's no danger of it tipping like a seesaw
  • check that it's fixed firmly to bath
  • if you have an unusually shaped bath, check that the board will fit safely
  • check that it will take your weight

Fitting a bath board

Most boards can be fitted on to most baths - but check the following:

Nottingham Rehab Supplies bath board
Bath board
  • The rim of the bath needs to be at least 2.5cm (1") wide on each side, so that the board has enough support. Some boards need wider rims.
  • If the bath is very high, getting a small step can make getting on to the board easier. Make sure the step is firmly fixed and is not slippery.
  • The board shouldn't be too long. It mustn't stick over the side of the bath by more than, say, 10 - 12cm (4-5"), as there's a chance that it could tip like a seesaw if you sit on the end.
  • The height of the boards that we tested varied a little. Some people in the test preferred higher boards, because it meant less bending, although this increased the drop to the bath seat.
  • It may be difficult to fit a board in an unusually shaped bath. Some boards can be used only in baths with straight sides.
  • The board is fitted at the end of the bath opposite the taps, so the taps don't get in the way.
  • The bath needs to be scrubbed clean so there's no grease or soap residue, which could make the fastenings less secure.
  • Bath boards are fixed to the bath by adjustable brackets or legs.¬† Slide them until they are wedged against the side of the bath, and then tighten to hold the board firmly in place. TIP: adjust the fixing furthest away from you first.
  • Always check the board is secure before using it.

Bath transfer benches

  • Bath transfer benches are similar to a bath boards but are longer and extend outside the bath forming a bench.
  • The bench allows you to sit on outside the bath.
  • The bench end outside the bath has height adjustable legs which rest on the floor.
  • When getting out you slide across the board, lift your legs over the side of the bath, and sit and dry youself.
  • Some have¬†padding, built-in grab rails or an armrest and a soap dish.

Safety - with bath tranfer benches, check that your feet will reach the floor, if you would be unstable otherwise.

Bath boards checklist

Use this checklist to help you decide when choosing a bath board.

Is it comfortable?

  • look for padded surfaces or moulded shapes that look as if they might suit you
  • handgrips help, padded seats and cork boards are warmer
  • wooden seats may be too hard, metal can be cold
  • wider boards are usually more comfortable but leave less room

Will water drain away?

  • drainage holes stop the board getting slippery - avoid large holes or slats - often uncomfortable to sit on, or could trap parts of your body
  • avoid boards that are hollow and could fill with water

Will it fit?

  • is the bath rim wide enough to support the board?
  • does the board come in a length that will fit your bath?
  • is the board wide enough for you to sit on comfortably?

Is it easy to fix to the bath?

  • can you - or whoever will do it - fix it on your bath and take it off again?
  • avoid hard-to-turn or fiddly fixings
Rica is a UK consumer research charity. Read our user tests of bath boards here

Last updated: August 2016


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