Your bathroom: The Ultimate Safety Zone
Anyone can fall in the bathroom. From small child to young adults to seniors, we are all susceptible to suffering serious injuries from accidents within the bathroom. Falls of this origin have been given more attention when suffered by people over age 65, however they are not any less dangerous for the rest of the population.
The CDC has reported up to 234,000 patients treated for injuries that occurred in bathrooms. The patients were mainly adults however many teenagers were among the affected ones. The severity of the injuries varied depending of the type of fall. Many times counter tops or the edges of bathtubs play an important role in complicating the fall even more. Adults over 85 years old are a lot more prone to break bone structures as a result of a bathroom fall.
Why are bathrooms such dangerous places?
There are many reasons why the bathroom can turn into such a dangerous place.
· Slippery Surfaces
· No support areas or handles to grab on to
· Particular space distribution that may result uncomfortable so some
What type of injuries can be suffered in bathrooms?
· Head contusions
· Broken bones
· Spinal Cord Injury
Did you know?
· 80% of falls happening in your home happen in the bathroom
· Having a history of falls makes you more prone to falling again
· Poor or lack of muscle strength will increase chances of falling
When are bathrooms falls most likely to occur?
· When getting out of the shower or tub
· When sitting or getting up from the toilet
· When using the wrong places for support and slipping
What other elements enhance the dangers in the bathroom?
· Racks that are not secured
· Shower chair that slip on water or humid floors
· Tubs that make it hard to get in and out
· Unstable sliding shower doors
· Slippery surfaces
· Height of toilet too low and hard to get up from
What can YOU do to make your bathroom a safer place?
Install grab bars:
Not towel bars but grab bars. We tend to think towel bars are good enough but they are not built to support body weight. Place the grab bars in places where you can use them to get in and out of the shower or tub. There are many different types of grab bars available so make sure you take the time to look for the exact one you need. One important tip we can give you is to get the bolted on grab bars as the suction ones can slip when weight is applied.
Get a shower chair:
Especially for elderly, sometimes keeping balance while in the shower can be a real challenge. Others are unable to stand for long periods of time. The way to go around this is by getting a proper shower chair. The chair should be and feel sturdy and it must have rubber tips on all four legs to avoid any sliding.
What if you have a tub at home?
Install grab bars:
There are specific grab bars that can be used when there is a tub. The tub-attached grab bar helps the person by providing a support as they will need to step over the sides to get in or out. A good example of the proper grab bar would be the Adjustable Tub Safety Bar which can easily be clamped to the tub so it can be placed in the proper location depending on the user.
Get a transfer bench:
How can you get in and out of the tub without losing your balance? Easy! Get a transfer bench. A good option is the The Maddak Inc Transfer Bench . The user will be able to safely enter the bath tub by sliding in a sitting position from the outside of the tub to the inside.
What to do with slippery surfaces?
There are very good non-slip shower mats out there. Make sure you buy one that has a good grip on the tiles or bath tub. There are also anti-slip rugs to be placed on the bathroom floor. Good places to put those are in front of the toilet and by the sink area. Another option is to place Non-slip adhesive strips on places that serve as hand support and balance.
Why toilets can be an issue as well
You need a raised toilet seat:
Our elderly loved might have the need of a raised toilet seat to make their toilet using experience easier and safer. With the difficulty of assuming a sitting position comes great pain and loss of balance. By using a raised toilet seat, you reduce the pain and difficulty by minimizing the squatting they have to do to use the toilet.
Some toilet seats come with grab bars on the sides. This is a great feature to provide more safety to the user. Bedside commodes are another valuable resource when getting mobilized from the bed to the bathroom becomes a major issue.
What other important tips should we keep in mind?
Need of a caregiver
Although it is a private ordeal and it is something we rather not have the company of anyone while we are in the bathroom doing our thing.
Keep it clean
Scum and mildew can turn tiles and tubs to extremely slippery surfaces. Keeping the bathroom clean will minimize danger you and your loved one face while you are in there.
Installing a phone in the bathroom is more important than you think. You will not be calling anyone while you do your thing in there, however if you or your loved one trip and get injured having a phone at a quick reach can literally be a lifesaver.
Proper door placement
Doors must open outwards. If your loved one falls in the bathroom, they may end up blocking the door making it really hard to access and provide help quickly. In a situation like this getting help promptly is crucial.
Light it up
The more light you put in the bathroom the better vision to hold on to the previously secured devices you placed. It’s also important to light the way to the bathroom to make sure that if you or your loved one has to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, you have to place night lamps in places that will allow you to get there safely and not blindly.