Case study - how equipment helped David


Use of a simple bath board enables David to use his bath and gets put away when the family visit.

David's challenge:

David is 72 and now lives alone since the death of his wife a year ago. His son and grandchildren regularly come to stay for the weekend. He is able to manage most activities including shopping and using his car. His bathroom has been the same for the last 10 years and he uses an over bath shower. He has recently been finding that his legs are weaker making stepping into the bath increasingly difficult. The weakness and instability of this movement has caused David to be concerned about slipping when getting in and out of the bath. He realises that this is risky when there is no one else in the house to respond in case of a slip. However he was concerned that any equipment should be removable when his family visited him.

Possible solutions

David contacted his local social services who arranged an assessment with an Occupational Therapist Assistant (OTA) called Joan. Joan visited David at home to look at the bathroom and to see the challenges he faced with using the bath. She agreed that there were issues around David's safety getting in and out of the bath and arranged for the provision of:

  1. A grab rail installed on the wall beside David's bath.
  2. A bath board. These fit across the bath, resting on both sides of the bath and enable users to sit down and swing their legs safely into their bath. This is often a safer movement than than stepping into the bath if like David you have reduced mobility and strength.

The outcome

David was pleased with the bath board and felt confident about having a bath alone again. When his family came to stay he stored the bath board out of the way when he wasn't using it. He held onto the grab rail with one hand when sat on the board and lifting his legs over the bath rim and into the bath. Joan, the Occupational Therapy Assistant notes that "These are low cost pieces of equipment which provide a great benefit to service users like David." However she recommended that David consider a longer term solution and recommended he review his options by looking at the bathing advice and showering equipment on the Living Made Easy site.

Having resolved this initial problem David feels that adapting his bathroom will mean he can live in the house for at least another 3-4 years and is now looking at getting a level access shower installed. He is also looking at getting a telecare alarm system installed to alert his family in case of a fall in the bathroom.