As one ages, the threat of falls becomes a very real possibility. It’s been previously stated that for every 100 people who fall and break a hip, somewhere between 12-67 of them will die within the year due to cascading negative health effects.
This is all the more reason for one to be careful with getting into and out of the tub. Thankfully, there are products out there which can help one to do so safely: swivel shower chairs.
The Importance of Preventing Bathroom Falls
Injury, joint limitations, pain, vertigo, orthostatic hypotension, stroke, diabetic neuropathy, and other issues can make getting into and out of the bathtub to take a shower risky business. However, a lack of proper hygiene is only asking for a skin infection, obnoxious smells, and other health consequences. One can’t simply ignore the need to take a shower.
According to the CDC, out of all the injuries that occur within the bathroom, most of them occurred due to the bathing/showering process, usually revolving around falls. But what is one to do when they desperately need to regularly shower but physical limitations make the prospect of such both dangerous and feared?
This is where a swivel shower chair can really help to step into the gap and provide a much safer bathroom environment for when one is bathing.
What is a Swivel Shower Chair?
A swivel shower chair is a chair in the shower that provides a safe place to sit while getting cleaned off. There are two main designs of swivel shower chair that one will find on the market: the traditional shower chair design, or a transfer chair.
The traditional design is a chair that swivels and sits in the shower alone. In contrast, a transfer design sits halfway in the shower and halfway out. These types of shower chairs are great for those who have a hard time getting into and out of the tub, and they are particularly effective when coupled with standing shower handles.
The user sits in the chair on the outside of the bathtub, and then the chair glides along the transfer bars until the individual is inside the shower. There’s a greatly reduced risk of their falling while attempting to get into the shower this way. When the person is done taking their shower, all they have to do is slide the chair along the transfer bars until they are out of the shower once more.
It’s as easy as that.
The swivel aspect helps the user to get out of the tub even easier (some shower chairs don’t swivel). Instead of having to worry about picking one’s legs up and over the bathtub wall from a standing position (where the risk of falls is increased), all one had to do is swivel the chair’s seat around so that they are facing the outside of the tub. The user’s legs can be swung over while they are in a seated position, making for a much safer “escape” from the bathtub.
These are items which can be found in hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities throughout the country. Why? Because they are a safe and efficient means of getting those with physical limitations into and out of the shower.
You’re bound to make the same discovery…
Finding the Right Swivel Shower Chair for Your Needs
Just what are some of the best-selling shower swivel chairs on the market? We’ve gone through to compile a list of some of the top-sellers just for you. If thousands of others have found benefit from these products, there’s a very good chance that you may as well.
If you find these choices too expensive, it’s possible that a lower cost shower transfer bench may work just as well.
1) The Carousel Sliding Transfer Bench
This is a nice, padded bath and shower transfer chair. Remember, this means it serves as a great option for getting one from a seated position both into and out of the shower. Adjustable legs allow one to ensure this is the proper height for the user, the arm rests can be raised and lowered/locked into place (making for one less thing to have to fuss with), and the chair is crafted from a very comfortable padded material – helping to ensure one isn’t sitting down on hard and cold plastic.
- PROFESSIONAL GRADE sliding transfer shower bench, bath, and shower chair for inside shower. Effortless sliding and pivoting for safe, easy transfers in and out of the tub. Platinum Health products are used in thousands of hospitals, nursing homes, and private homes by customers who value quality, safety, convenience, and comfort over price. Note: OPTIONAL LEG EXTENSION KIT AVAILABLE FOR TUBS WITH HIGH LEDGE.
- PADDED SHOWER SEAT, BACK, AND ARMRESTS. No more cold, slippery, hard plastic parts like old-style bath chairs; the well-made Carousel provides warm-to-the-touch, comfortable, slip-resistant padding on all main components. The medical-grade, closed-cell molded polyurethane padding on this shower chair for the bathtub will not absorb any water and is easy to clean and disinfect.
As with everything, there are pros and cons involved. The cons are as numerous users have pointed out, that the buttons which allow the chair to move are positioned rather awkwardly right where the crotch is.
For the user that is using this by themselves, that’s not likely to be much of an issue. For the caregiver that is trying to help his/her elderly mother use the shower. Well… that could be a bit uncomfortable. Others have noted that the depth of the seat can sometimes feel a bit shallow as well. Of course, this is going to depend on how “shallow” the person is who is sitting on the chair, but it is something to consider.
The total weight of the unit is 20 pounds as well. This should be manageable for most to position into place once it’s assembled as well without too much effort.
2) The Gateway Premium Sliding Bath Transfer Bench
Another transfer bench type design, here, again we find that there is a padded seat and backrest to help ensure that using the chair is as comfortable of a process as possible. There won’t be as bad of an initial moment of dread that can come from leaning back against a cold metal or plastic chair.
- PROFESSIONAL GRADE sliding transfer shower bench, bath, and shower chair for inside shower. Effortless sliding and pivoting for safe, easy transfers in and out of the tub or shower. Platinum Health products are trusted in thousands of hospitals, nursing homes, and private homes by users who value quality, safety, convenience, and comfort over price. TOOL-LESS assembly in under 5 minutes. PLEASE REVIEW THE DIMENSIONS SHOWN IN THE LINE DRAWING BEFORE ORDERING TO ENSURE THIS ITEM WILL FIT YOUR ROOM
- PADDED SHOWER SEAT AND BACKREST. No more cold, slippery, hard plastic surfaces like old-style bath chairs; the well made Gateway provides warm to the touch, comfortable, slip-resistant padding on both the seat and backrest. The medical-grade, closed-cell molded polyurethane padding will not absorb any water and is easy to clean and disinfect. 100% reversible-can be used with right side and left side access tubs and showers.
Of course, this foam is of the closed cell variety, meaning that it’s not going to absorb water, and shouldn’t mold as a result. Another benefit here is that this chair is easily reversible to accommodate whichever manner the shower is oriented.
This chair comes with a weight limit of 330 pounds as well, meaning it should be able to happily accommodate the greater portion of potential users out there.
3) Carex Easy Swivel Shower Stool
Coming in as the most inexpensive option on this list is the Carex Easy Swivel Shower Stool. Thousands of people have bought this little shower barstool design and been happy with the way in which it functions. There are adjustable legs, the tips of the legs have non-slip grips, and it can hold up to 300 pounds.
- SHOWER SEATS FOR ADULTS. This 14.5" shower seat is cushioned for comfort and swivels 360 degrees, allowing users to easily enter and exit the bathtub. Swiveling shower stool locks into place when full weight is applied, ensuring maximum safety.
- ADJUSTABLE STOOL. Bath stool supports up to 300 lbs. and features four height adjustable legs with 5 settings ranging from 14.75” - 20.75”. Legs form a square shape that are 12 3/4" apart, a great small shower chair for tight spaces.
The primary con that some have notes is that the seat can become slippery once it gets wet. Whether or not that will be an issue for the user is most certainly going to depend on who the user is. Somebody who is very frail, already has balance issues, or has some other type of condition which makes them unsteady with their legs or core is probably not a good fit for this swivel shower stool.
For all the rest, this may be a viable option.
4) The Platinum Health Revolution Pivoting Shower Chair
This can serve as a great option for those who are simply looking for a sturdy shower chair design, without any need for the transfer bench aspect. This large and comfy chair has padded seats, armrests, and backrests, can safely accommodated 330 pounds, and has raisable arms as well.
- PROFESSIONAL GRADE bath and shower chair. Effortless pivoting for safe, easy transfers in and out of the tub or shower. Platinum Health products are used in thousands of hospitals, nursing homes, and in private homes by customers who value quality, safety, convenience, and comfort over price. Tool-less assembly in less than 3 minutes. HIGH CAPACITY 600LB MODEL NOW AVAILABLE-SEARCH B09SN73L3J
- PADDED SEAT, BACK, AND ARMRESTS. No more cold, slippery, hard plastic parts like old-style bath chairs; the Revolution provides warm-to-the-touch, and comfortable, slip-resistant padding on all main components. The medical-grade, closed-cell molded polyurethane padding will not absorb any water and is easy to clean. HIGH CAPACITY 600LB MODEL NOW AVAILABLE-SEARCH B09SN73L3J
The entire setup weighs just slightly less than 15 pounds as well, meaning it should be a chair that most can nestle into their tub without feeling as if they must wrestle an oversized fish to do so.
5) HydroGlyde Premium Heavy Duty Sliding Bathtub Transfer Bench
If one is a caregiver and shopping for a transfer bench style shower swivel chair (that’s a mouthful) for a loved one that has trouble keeping their perineum region clean, this may be an easy to use means of doing so. This swivel chair has a cutout in the seat – which can easily be replaced – but which also gives the caregiver unhampered access to the underside of somebody, helping to make cleaning this region a much simpler process.
- PROFESSIONAL GRADE sliding transfer shower bench, bath, and shower chair for inside shower. Effortless sliding for safe, easy transfers in and out of the tub or shower. Platinum Health products are used in thousands of hospitals, nursing homes, and private homes by users who value quality, safety, convenience, and comfort over price. This easy to assemble bath chair requires a quick TOOLS-LESS assembly in less than 5 minutes. 100% reversible.
- SEAT CUTOUT WITH INSERT. The commode opening on this bath chair shower chair for seniors allows for unobstructed access to the perineal area for easy and effective washing. A snap-in insert section is included that can be easily and quickly added and removed from the seat as desired. A mounting bracket keeps the insert section within arms reach. Safety belt included. PLEASE REVIEW THE DIMENSIONS SHOWN IN THE LINE DRAWING BEFORE ORDERING TO ENSURE THIS ITEM WILL THE USER AND LOCATION.
No tools are needed to assemble the design, meaning it’s very easy to put the chair together, and the chair has a holding capacity of up to 420 pounds. If a caregiver is dealing with a very large individual, this can serve as a fantastic, heavy-duty chair to help get the job done when it comes to showering.
All the other standard features for a shower chair are present as well. The chair is crafted out of a padded material, as is the backrest, there are adjustable legs, and the blue color helps those with vision issues to better find the chair (compared with a white chair against the white background of a tub).
An extension kit is available for those that need longer transition bars for those whose bathrooms necessitate such.
Are Swivel Shower Chairs Covered by Insurance?
To start, this will first require a doctor’s prescription for one to ever have much of a chance to get their insurance to cover it. Perhaps bringing up your fear of falling in the bathtub at your next doctor’s visit you may be able to get a prescription for one?
It’s difficult to tell there.
Medicare Part B may cover these items as Durable Medical Equipment. However, you’re likely going to have to get pre-approval if you want Medicare to cover such a purchase.
If one instead relies upon a flexible savings account (FSA) or a health savings account (HSA) the funds can typically be used to purchase a swivel shower chair though, with minimal fuss (if any) from the insurance company. Should the insurance company raise a stink about such, it may be worthwhile to remind them what the average cost of a hip replacement surgery, the following physical therapy visits, the nursing home stay, the prescription painkillers, and the ongoing orthopedic consults cost is in America.
Wrapping it Up
As one ages it’s important to do what one can to prevent falls before they ever happen in the first place. Part of that may very well include purchasing a shower swivel chair. If you or a loved one is dealing with a great deal of anxiety about falling within the bathroom setting, a shower chair may be a worthwhile investment.
Check out the models we’ve discussed above, and you’re bound to find something you will like.