Barrier-free showering experience

Running shower with levelled wooden floor (Photo: Grohe Group)
Barrier-free wet rooms are characterised by the greatest possible freedom of movement. (Photo: Grohe Group)

Being independent in the bath room: barrier-free showers offer a great comfort and independence in daily life for people with disabilities; and they are aesthetically a "looker" too.

In more and more areas of everyday life, the accessibility is gaining importance. Because of accessible buildings and installations on the one hand people with a disability benefit, on the other hand, the accessibility in housing and living spaces also offers safety and comfort for the elderly or families with children.

Eliminate barriers in bathrooms and showers

Particularly important is the accessibility in bathrooms and showers, and by no means only in hospitals or nursing homes but also in private homes.

Accessibility enables the desired showering comfort and gives people with limited mobility certain independence in everyday life too.

Accessibility in walk-in showers and wet rooms

A barrier-free shower can provide a high degree of security, thanks to the greatest possible freedom of movement, an obstacle-free access, simple controls, fixtures and seating areas.

In the context of a modern, accessible bathroom design have been established for people with and without disabilities in recent years; structural measures and sophisticated shower programmes that meet all functional and also aesthetic requirements. These are called walk-in showers and wet rooms.

Picture of a walk-in shower (Photo: Dallmer)
Accessibility and shower comfort for people with disabilities, seniors and families. (Photo: Dallmer)

Levelling reduces barriers

Both solutions are distinguished by their ground levelling. This means that the shower area is on one level with the surrounding soil and does not have any thresholds. Walk-in showers usually have shower curtains but also very often a glass doors.

Wet rooms on the other hand are designed to let the water go anywhere but still let it drain. The access into a wet room is barrier-free for people with disabilities.

A walk-in shower, however, must have the minimum size of 1.50 x 1.50 meters to allow sufficient space to manoeuvre with a wheelchair. In addition, the door must open to the outside or to the side.

The following points must be considered at the installation of an accessible shower:

  • A walk-in shower is only really accessible when no edges hinder wheelchairs to enter.
  • Install handrails on which you can hold on and support yourself.
  • The flooring should be slip-resistant.
  • In many accessible showers a seat is required (Seat-walling, folding seat, stool)
  • Storage facilities must be easily accessible - should be mounted reachable from sitting position - and offer enough space.
  • The shower head should be adjustable in height.
  • A built-in thermostat maintains a constant water temperature and protects the person showering from scalding in the case of fainting.

A walk-in shower and the aforementioned comfort and security measures enable not only people with a disability, but also the elderly and families, to enjoy a barrier-free showering experience.

Text: Patrick Gunti - 09/2012
Bilder: Grohe Group / Dallmer