Support, comfort and positioning in the bath

Support, comfort and positioning in the bath

If you require equipment for support, comfort and positioning in the bath, a full assessment by an occupational therapist (OT) is recommended. This will help to ensure that the most suitable equipment is provided and any issues around moving and handling are addressed. Read more on obtaining an OT assessment.

Types of support, comfort and positioning equipment

Cushions for comfort
Plastic covered foam cushions can be used to line the bath to increase the comfort of someone who is frail or in pain; or to increase the safety of a bather who has involuntary movements.

Mouldable body supports
These are large waterproof cushions filled with polystyrene beads which mould to the bodies shape. They are available in different shapes to support various parts of the body. The shape can be semi-permanently fixed, when the air inside is removed using a pump. They are secured to the side of the bath with suction feet.

Head supports
Head cushions improve comfort when lying back in the bath. They are fixed to the bath with suction pads.

Pressure relief cushions
Anyone who requires pressure care should be provided with it across the range of daily living activities, i.e. not only as a pressure cushion in the bath, but also for the wheelchair, in bed, and on the commode or toilet. Bath cushions normally have a waterproof outer cover, and a heavy inner substance which enables the cushion to remain submerged. A range of bath cushions are available from low to high pressure relief, many are filled with gel. Consultation with a health professional before purchasing any pressure reducing equipment is strongly advised. He/she can usually be contacted through the local health authority or referrals can be made by a range of health professionals including doctors, other nurses and therapists.

Fixation and placement

Bath cushions usually fix to a bath's sides with suction pads. However, non slip rough or patterned surfaces may reduce the grip of these pads.

Pads and cushions should not be placed over spa jets, as they may be misplaced or the cushion or bath damaged.

We recommend you try out a bath support before purchase. Visit the Disabled Living Foundation's webpage on Equipment Demonstration Centres in the UK to find an equipment demonstration centre near you. The centres provide individuals with opportunities to view, and try, products and equipment and obtain information and advice from professional staff about equipment that may assist them.

Advice last checked: 30 January 2018 Next check due: 30 January 2021

All advice is either supported by references (cited in the text) or is based upon peer reviewed professional opinion. Our advice is impartial and not influenced by sponsors or product suppliers listed on the site.
Conflict of interest statement


  1. Disabled Living Foundation 2014  Choosing equipment for bathing
    View reference   Last visited:  30/09/2015 Evidence type: 2
  2. Pain, H., McLellan, L. and Gore, S. 2003  Choosing Assistive Devices: A Guide for Users and Professionals
    Jessica Kingsley Publishers :  London and Philadelphia Evidence type: 1; 2