Showering is an important part of everyday health and hygiene, and it is also a great way to rest, relax and rejuvenate. Unfortunately, for many people experiencing physical challenges and disabilities, showering can be rather frightening and dangerous. Luckily, the right adaptive equipment can help seniors and others with mobility or balance challenges cope with these problems. In this article, we discuss the tub transfer bench and how to use it safely. Read on to learn more.
How Does A Tub Transfer Bench Work?
A tub transfer bench eliminates the challenges of entering the tub by stepping over a high barrier into a slippery tub and sitting down so low that rising becomes a problem. Instead, you sit on the bench at the side of the tub, lift your legs over the side (or have your care provider help you do this) and then slide on the bench to end up in a comfortably seated position above the tub. Then you can sit in comfort and bathe or shower without the danger of slipping and falling or struggling to rise from the bottom of the tub. When you are done, just reverse the process to leave the tub.
How Do You Choose The Right Tub Transfer Bench?
The first thing you should do when shopping for a tub transfer bench is measure your tub and its surrounding area. You want to be sure to get a bench that is tall enough to clear the side of the tub. It must also have the right dimensions to span the width of the tub with enough bench on the outside of the tub to allow you to sit comfortably.
With this information at hand, you can quickly eliminate transfer benches that simply will not fit your situation. Then you can focus on features such as material, color, backrests, padding and the like. Keep hygiene in mind when you make these choices. You’ll want a bench that is easy to clean and doesn’t have lots of cracks and crevices where mold might grow. A contoured plastic seat with drainage holes is usually the best choice.
When you are choosing features, remember to make safety the top feature. Look for a tub transfer bench that has sturdy, non-skid legs. Aluminum construction is best for legs because it is a lightweight material that will not rust. Adjustable benches should have sturdy, firm, secure snap adjusters.
TIP: A tub transfer bench with built in handles is easier to move and reposition
If you are shopping in person, be sure to examine the benches on display carefully, and don’t be shy to try them out. If you are shopping online, be sure to read reviews carefully and ask as many questions as you need to. Consult with an occupational therapist if you can. He or she will be able to evaluate your abilities and needs to help you make a wise choice.
How Do You Use A Tub Transfer Bench Safely?
Every situation is different, but the following video and instructions will provide you with good starting points.
7 Steps To Help You Use Your Tub Transfer Bench Safely
- 1Stand with your back to the bench so that you can feel the edge of the bench against the backs of your legs. Steady yourself by holding onto grab bars, your walker or the steadying hand of your care provider
- 2Sit on the bench in a careful and controlled manner. Don’t allow yourself to flop down onto the bench as this may cause it to rock or skid
- 3Keeping your legs on the outside of the tub, move back onto the seat as far as possible
- 4Lift your legs (assisted or unassisted) over the side of the tub, one at a time
- 5Slide over so that your are centered over the tub
- 6Take your bath or shower
- 7Towel off as much as possible (especially your feet) before reversing the process to exit the tub. This step helps prevent slipping and injury
These are just general tips. It’s a good idea to get the help of an occupational therapist when you begin using a tub transfer chair. In this way, you can get sound, professional instruction to help you and your care provider safely navigate the challenges of your particular bathroom setting.
Duke Medicine: Tub Transfer Bench