There are a range of handicap shower stalls which are designed to the very highest standards. In the past, shower stalls for the disabled were very limited and utilitarian, and not designed for the comfort or aesthetic appeal that standard shower stalls were allowed. There are a range of handicap shower stalls which allow those with different levels of physical ability to find an ideal shower design to suit their needs.
This is the most basic of the handicap shower stalls designs. Rails and grip bars can be installed in traditional showers, adding greatly to the disabled person's ability to take a shower alone. Shower rails are typically made out of heavy-duty material that can support the weight of a disabled person. Shower rails can also be installed in the bathrooms of wheelchair users, as they can use them to support themselves while they stand in a shower stall.
The shower threshold can be lowered in a handicap shower stall to allow those with significant mobility problems to step easily into the shower. Whereas the usual shower threshold can be as much as a foot high, in a handicap shower stall this threshold can be lowered to as little as four inches, which means that many more people can step over them.
The handicap shower stall seat has been specially adapted so that it can swivel around or fold away. In many cases, disabled people are only able to take a shower in a seated position, and the swivel chair allows them to move the seat around without too much effort. Folding seats allow greater room to move in and out of the shower, and can be found in both plain wood slats, and padded, waterproof designs. Larger fold up seats may even include drain holes. Folding seats can be smooth, to allow the user to turn into position to face the shower. Shower seats should be ADA approved for best results, and can be bought either with supporting legs, or as directly mounted on the wall.
This design of shower stall allows those who are wheelchair-bound to shower in comfort. Shower ramps are vital tools for those who wish to keep some of their independence, even in problematical areas. There are a number of different designs for shower ramps, the most significant being the relative size of the shower stall. These are much larger than traditional showers, so that the wheelchair users have additional room to turn around during the shower.
This is perhaps the most expensive of the handicap shower stall varieties, and involves converting the entire bathroom into a shower area. This has the convenience of allowing the disabled person plenty of room to maneuver, and also means that there is no problem with moving over shower pan thresholds, or struggling with doors. The downside of a wet room is that the entire floor has to be waterproofed and tilted slightly, so that water slides into the drain, and that the floor of the bathroom can become very slippery, which can cause problems for those with limited movement.