Q. Are these seats required by the ADA?
A. The ADA requires that there be a fold down seat installed in a roll-in shower as specified under (4.21.3).
For bathtubs, the ADA specifies that tub seats shall be mounted securely and shall not slip during use (4.20.3).
Hotels and other similar properties use the fold-down wooden seat which are not accessible for a wheelchair user to fold down to start with, and then it sits on the tub (about 14″ high) so its too low to transfer down to, and back up. The portable stools that most hotels use do not comply with the shear or load force requirement of 250 lbs. (4.26.3).
The toilet seat W-440 is not mandatory yet, but it allows the same safe and accessible transfer surface to the toilet that the shower/tub seats do for the bath area. It is most important to apply these to the roll-in shower rooms that are needing full accessibility, and public bathroom areas where the re-dressing issue is overwhelming.
Q. Is the Dressing Bench required by ADA?
A. 4.35.4 Bench. Every accessible dressing room shall have a 24 in by 48 in (610 mm by 1220 mm) bench fixed to the wall along the longer dimension. The bench shall be mounted 17 in to 19 in (430 mm to 485 mm) above the finish floor. Clear floor space shall be provided alongside the bench to allow a person using a wheelchair to make a parallel transfer onto the bench. The structural strength of the bench and attachments shall comply with 4.26.3. Where installed in conjunction with showers, swimming pools, or other wet locations, water shall not accumulate upon the surface of the bench and the bench shall have a slip-resistant surface.
Q. Are they hard to install?
A. The Toilet Transfer Benches install quickly by removing the toilet lid and placing the mounting bracket of the TTB between the lid and toilet as you remount the toilet lid. The tub and shower benches are easy to mount but will require mounting anchors, depending on the type of wall surface you are going into.
Q. How long will it take to get my new seat?
A. Seats that are custom made or not in stock will take 3 weeks to receive, but normal orders will be 10-14 days.
Q. Are these covered by Medicare or insurance?
A. To our knowledge, Medicare is not covering this type of bathroom equipment at this time. They will cover a bedside commode, so you can humiliate yourself in your own bedroom, but not a device that increases your independence in the bathroom. Some private insurances will cover bathroom equipment and even “home modification”. Medicaid will assist in some purchases if there is a “medical necessity” proven by the doctor.
There are Independent Living Centers in all states that assist folks in obtaining assistive technology such as these items. Each state also has a Vocational Rehabilitation or Dept. of Rehabilitation office that will purchase this equipment for its clients. Lastly, we will be glad to discuss monthly payments with those that need to stretch out their money.