Wash-dry toilets and shower chairs: How to choose the right combination

Wash-dry toilets and shower chairs are both essential for people with certain disabilities. Although both can be used separately, they often need to work together. And this brings certain challenges.

Why it can be hard to use a shower chair with a wash-dry toilet

Most wash-dry toilets are built based on the assumption that the user will sit directly on the seat, and the water and air functions are aligned accordingly.

However, the shower chair positions the user a few inches above the seat, so they’re farther away from the toilet – which means the angle and pressure of the water and air sprays are below optimum. As a result, users often find the water spray isn’t quite right, there’s too much splash-back and that the air is only lukewarm. This creates issues around comfort and confidence as well as cleanliness.

So, what should you look for in a shower chair that’s going to be used with a wash-dry toilet? How can you ensure the user is comfortable, supported and cleaned?

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Look for adjustability

Most shower chairs position the user 4 to 5 inches above the seat as standard. However, if the chair is adjustable (like the RAZ shower chair - see videos here), you can get the user much closer. This helps mitigate the issues outlined above relating to the water and air spray.

Some wash-dry toilets are adjustable as well. The Geberit AquaClean, for example, has a digital hand control that lets you adjust both the pressure and the angle of the water and air sprays. This lets you can compensate for the user’s height when sitting in the shower chair.

Consider a chair with a ‘skirt’

You can also help mitigate against splashing and air loss by opting for a shower chair with a ‘skirt’ around the seat aperture. These can help control the breadth of the spray, prevent water splashing against the toilet bowl and air escaping through the gap. Clos-o-Mat wash-dry toilets facilitate this because they’re designed with a horizontal seat and vertical cistern cover. This allows you to get the chair closer to the pan and align more accurately for better cleaning.

Don’t neglect postural support or pressure relief

Although users are only in shower chairs for a limited period at a time, it’s still important to consider postural support and pressure relief. Having the right support is key to comfortable toileting, plus even short periods of high pressure can cause serious injury. 

Adjustability comes into play here as well. For example, you significantly increase postural support when you can move the aperture (the RAZ shower chair allows you to move it forwards, backwards and side to side). You particularly see the benefits if you’re working with users that have spinal or pelvic conditions, or if they’re fixed in a windswept position. Having a correctly positioned aperture aligned with the pelvis significantly reduces pressure and gives users the support they need to relax.

Importantly, you can then adjust the seat as needs change, which means the user can continue using the same chair over the long term – and that you can deliver the right support in multi-user environments. In other words: better support, pressure relief and cleanliness while being more cost effective.

For more information about to find the right shower chair and wash-dry toilet combination, contact one of our product advisors at sales@wealdenrehab.com or on 0845 658 8411.

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