Bath Hoists for the Disabled – Plus Alternative Options
Bath hoists for disabled people are a great solution to make bathing more accessible. They are used by people with mobility issues, including the elderly. These are people that are unable to use a bath without assistance.
Bath hoists enable the user to sit down outside the bath and be rotated and lowered into the water. This makes entering the bath far easier and safer.
Hoists can be manual or electric. A manual bath hoist will be operated by a carer, to assist in lowering the person into the water. An electric hoist usually offers a smoother transfer. Again, this is usually operated by a second person, although there are some models that can be used independently.
When is a bath hoist the best solution?
Bath hoists for disabled people and the elderly, are usually the best solution for people who require a lot of assistance bathing. This means they are most likely to have a second person present when using the bath.
Due to this a hoist would be best suited to someone who has a carer, that helps them entering and exiting the bath. In this case the hoist is more of a solution for the carer, as it means the patient won’t need manually lifting in and out of the bath.
When is a bath hoist for disabled not the best solution?
A bath hoist will not be the best solution if you want to use your bath independently. For example, if you are quite independent and only have slightly limited mobility, you may not need a second person assisting you.
For most people bathing is a private activity, so if you can avoid having a second person present to help, most people would prefer to bathe alone.
The good news is there are lots of other bathing solutions. These alternative options can assist you getting in and out of the bath without the need for a carer to assist you.
Alternatives to bath hoists
There are a variety of different solutions to bath hoists for disabled people and the elderly. The one you choose will vary depending on your level of mobility.
In this section we will be looking at several different solutions. Some of these are very low cost simple solutions, and others are considerably more expensive. All of them will require different levels of mobility, but due to the wide range of options there is usually a solution for most people.
A bath board is a low cost and effective alternative to a bath hoist for disabled or elderly people. Particularly those that still have reasonably good mobility. Bath boards are placed across the top of your bath. You would sit back onto the board from outside the bath and lift your legs over to enter the bathtub.
Once you are seated above the bath, you can either bathe, or shower yourself from the seated position. Or alternatively, if possible, you can lower yourself into the water. This will obviously depend on your level of mobility and strength, which will be required to lower and raise yourself out of the bath.
You can see our top choice for a swivel bath board here
Bath transfer bench
This option is very similar to a bath board in the way it is used. The main difference is a transfer bench is on legs and spans the edge of the bath. This means you sit on the bench next to the bath and lift your legs over. Then you shuffle across the bench until positioned above the bath water.
Essentially, it is the same principle as a bath board. However, the method of use is just slightly different.
Obviously, both the bath board and transfer bench are very basic. They are certainly not a like-for-like comparison to a bath hoist for disabled or elderly person. However, if your mobility is quite good and you just need limited assistance getting in and out, they can be a great low cost solution.
One other item that can be a great help with these two options is a leg lifter, this can make transferring that bit easier if lifting your legs is an issue.
You can see our top choice for a bathtub transfer bench and sliding shower chair here
There are many different types of bath lifts available and they are a good alternative to a bath hoist for disabled people and the elderly.
There are several different solutions when it comes to bath lifts. Below are a few examples:
- Bath lift seats are usually removable and can easily be taken in and out of the bath. They work by lowering and raising the user inside the bath, making it easier to get in and out. Some models also come with rotating seats. This means you can sit down outside the bath and rotate yourself in.
- Floor to wall fixed belt lifts. This type of bath lift uses a roller attached to a fabric belt to lower and raise the user in and out of the water.
- Inflatable seats are another good option. The way they work is very simple, the chair inflates and deflates with an electric motor. One thing to consider with an inflatable chair, is they are slightly less stable, so if you struggle with balance, they may not be the best choice.
A walk in bathtub
This is our last and most expensive alternative to bath hoists for disabled people.
A walk in bathtub or shower is more of a considered purchase. You are likely to be paying anywhere from $1,000 – $3,000+. However, a bath hoist is also in a similar price range, so the difference is not going to be much in terms of the cost.
The main advantage of a walk in tub, is again independence. Due to a door on your bathtub, this is probably the most accessible option on our list. There is no need to physically climb into the bathtub or lift your legs over the edge. You can simply walk through the bathtub door and sit down.
Conclusion: Are bath hoists right for you?
As you can see a bath hoist for disabled and elderly individuals can be a great option for accessing your bath. This is particularly true if you are somebody with serious mobility issues, who also requires the assistance of a carer. However, it is not always the best, or most affordable solution.
If you are slightly more mobile, there are alternative options which we have mentioned above. Many of these are very low cost in comparison and give more privacy if you don’t require a second persons assistance. Hopefully you have found this article useful and if you have any questions please leave them in the comments below.