Things to check when specifying height-adjustable wash basins
Choosing the appropriate wash basin for disabled children and adults, as well as wheelchair users, is not necessarily straightforward and there are lots of different options to consider. Healthcare professionals should consider infrared tap options, projection of the wash basin from the wall, surface areas and much more.
In this article, assisted bathing specialist Kingkraft shares a few important tips on what healthcare professionals should look out for when specifying height-adjustable wash basins.
Washing your hands and face is something we all take for granted and probably don’t give much thought too. If you are a wheelchair user or less able, then this can become more challenging.
Here are some quick tips and guidelines to help with specifying or choosing a wash basin for an assisted bathroom.
- Projection of the basin from the wall and access underneath
- Shallow trap underneath
- Space around the wash basin
- Space to lean on
- Infrared tap options
- Height adjustment
Height-adjustable wash basins can be helpful not just for wheelchair users, but for ambulant users who need more support and people of different height.
Also, giving disabled children access to a wash basin can help with independence and motor skills. Many users may not be independent, but giving children (and adults) the opportunity to try and wash or brush their teeth themselves can be a benefit for rehabilitation and improvement, as well as self-esteem.
For wheelchair users, we recommend checking the projection of the wash basin. A seated user will need leg room below the wash basin. BS8300 recommends a projection of 490mm for ease of use. However, it’s not just the basin projection that can help, but also making sure there is no boxing below the basin to hide pipes which can hit a footplate.
Something else to look out for is how deep the basin waste trap is below. This can catch knees or legs and, again, restrict access. A sloping style wash basin that’s not too deep will give more leg room below for wheelchair users.
Some wash basins can also be moved horizontally to help make better use of space in a small bathroom. We have even used a wash basin that swings out on an arm and can then turn. This is ideal for users in large tilt-in-space chairs who cannot get close enough to a standard basin and it can also work well in smaller bathrooms. This basin can be used over the toilet before a user needs to transfer after cleaning themselves or it can swing out of the way to give more space for transfer or showering.
When anyone uses a wash basin, it’s always handy to have soaps, lotions and toothbrushes within reach. Whilst it’s easy to reach to a shelf or windowsill for most of us, this isn’t always easy for somebody who is disabled or in a wheelchair. If the basin has a larger surface area to keep objects, this can be a big help.
Also, some users may need an area to lean on at the front of the basin for support or to lift their arms. A specialist basin, such as the Kingkraft Corian basins, can offer more space in a stylish finish and in many colours.
Finally, the water itself. Can the user reach the taps? Are they easy to operate? Do they need lever taps or infrared control? Do remember not all infrared control taps offer easy temperature control and may only give blended water at a set temperature, this is not ideal for teeth cleaning where cold water is needed. It is possible to have separate infrared controls for hot and cold and even to move the basin up and down for users with dexterity issues.
Some users may also benefit from thermostatic TMV3 taps to protect against scalding. Not all users can alter the temperature or move quickly and some users may not be as sensitive to changes in water temperature.