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Successful Bathroom Transfers
By Jennifer Bradley, Staff Writer

(Page 2 of 4)

Many older homes have tubs with a shower attached, while others have a single shower stall. Each can pose different safety risks, especially after water has had its chance to saturate the area! The most transfer-friendly option is of course, a shower stall. If possible, a caregiver should consider replacing an existing tub with a stall and a shower chair. If not feasible, below are some tips for transfers in a tub.

  • Position the person so that the backs of their legs touch the bathtub and are in line with the tub chair.
  • If using a chair, have the person reach and grab the back of the tub chair.
  • The other hand then grabs the side of the tub, or an assistive device
  • The caregiver can slowly lower the person onto the side of the chair.
  • Take the hand on the tub or other device, and place it on the shower chair.
  • Lift the legs up one at a time and swing them into the tub.
  • The person should be positioned in the center of the chair or stool.
  • Reverse to transfer out of tub.

Some helpful products for this type of transfer include a bench with adjustable legs and a seat large enough for the person being assisted. The bench is made to straddle the outside of the tub/shower combo, and allows for help both in and outside the wet area.

To assist a loved one with greater flexibility and mobility, a simple tub chair can be placed inside for the person to transfer to. A chair with a handle, suction legs and a backrest may cost a little more, but increase the safety of a loved one while in the tub.

On Solid Ground

Another essential tool for a bathroom transfer is a non-skid bath mat. Standing on a wet, unsteady surface makes a loved one feel uneasy and scared, making transfers for a caregiver very difficult. A bath mat provides support and security for both. It is more difficult to assist someone who is not comfortable with a situation and tensing up. A caregiver should always make every effort to keep their loved one calm and collected during a transfer.

Grab bars are a must for any caregiver looking to make a loved one’s bathroom transfer-friendly. First, a grab bar (or more) is helpful for getting in and out of the tub, and can be placed on the surrounding walls or cabinets. Second, grab bars for in the tub offer support while standing to shower and rinse off, as well as transfer in and out. Here are some suggestions for grab bar placement,   as suggested by an Internet article entitled “Bath Safety for Seniors”:

  • A vertically placed U bar, fixed to the side wall at the base of the tub, ensures safe entry and exit.
  • Horizontally placed support bars are appropriate for lowering or raising the body in the tub.
  • Diagonally placed grab bars are not suggested as the hand may slip thus increasing the chances of a fall.


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