Bath Lift Fact Sheet
For those who want to get down into their bath tub and have a proper bath the solution is a bath lift. A bath lift is a seat which sits in the tub and mechanically lowers the user down into the bath tub and then raises them back up after bathing.
Hydraulic or Battery powered?
Most bath lifts were originally water powered and installed by hooking a hose to the bath tub's plumbing in the same way a hand held shower is hooked up. Today, with the advancements, in technology many of the bath lifts on the market are battery powered. Although most models have been promoted as portable, there was always an issue with hooking up a water supply when away from home but with the production of battery powered units traveling with a lift is much easier. When at home or away the battery powered unit can be simply placed in the tub when needed and removed when not needed without the hassle of connecting and disconnecting water hoses.
An advantage of the water powered unit are there is no battery to recharge; as long as your house has water pressure it will work. The disadvantage of the water powered bath lift is that if the water bladder develops a leak they are generally quite expensive to replace.
Battery powered units sense the amount of power left in the battery and won't lower into the tub if there isn't enough power for the lift to lift back up again. Extra batteries can be purchased to be used as a backup so you'll always have a charged battery ready for use. Having a back up battery is a good idea in institutional settings where the lift is used multiple times a day.
Most of today's bath lifts offer some type of recline feature. While sounding like a god idea they are not always as functional as on would think. When the bath lift is placed at the end of the bath tub the amount of recline is limited the angle of the end of the bath tub. If the bath lift is positioned forward to allow for more recline then leg room is sacrificed and the user ends up with their knees in the air.
Using a bath lift
Bath lifts are pretty simple to use. When in the raised position, the seat will over lap the out side lip of the bath tub. The user simply sits on the bath lift with their legs outside the bath tub, swing their legs into the bath tub, center themselves on the seat and push a button or lever which will lower them into the water. The bath tub can be filled before (preferable for comfort) or after the lift is lowered. When the bath is finished, the user uses the button/lever to lift the bath lift to the raised position, the user swings their legs out and stands or transfers to a wheelchair.
One thing to keep in mind is the seat flaps which lay on the side of the tub are supported by the tub wall. If the lift is too high, there is a danger of the flaps breaking off during a transfer. To avoid breakage, the bath lift must be raised to the same height as the side of the bath tub and not higher during transfers.
Note: all accessories and options are not available for all bath lifts.
- Transfer Disc - for those who have trouble swinging their legs into the bath tub and centering themselves on the seat a bath lift transfer disc placed on the seat will make turning and sliding across the seat much easier.
- Side Wings - Side wings are supports attached to the back of the seat for people who have trouble remaining upright without leaning to the sides.
- Head Rest - Head rests are optional on some models of lifts for those who require head support.
- Chest Strap - Chest straps are used to prevent the user from leaning sideways or forward while bathing.
- Lap Belt - Lap belts help in keeping the user securely in place during bathing.
- Pommel - Pommels are buildups on the seat of the bath lift between the legs. They are helpful for bathers who have high tone issues with their muscles and tend to sit with their legs pressed together.
Popular Bath Lifts