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.
Q. "Who can benefit from these seats?"
A. The great thing about these seats is that just about everyone can benefit from having a shower or bathtub seat. However, there are many who specifically require assistance entering or exiting the shower and/or while bathing. Elderly persons, those with physically debilitating diseases like Parkinson’s or arthritis, and those with cognitive or neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s/dementia may be prone to falls or have difficulty standing. A shower seat can offer a much needed respite from standing too long, and provide the opportunity to bathe safely and independently. Those with physical disabilities, who have suffered stroke, or for other reasons experience limited mobility can also greatly benefit from these seats as they may be able to transfer and shower without assistance, affording them greater privacy and preserving their independence. Even individuals without a chronic condition, such as someone recovering from a severe injury or surgery, or who are in physical rehabilitation can find comfort in safe and easy bathing with one of these wonderful seats.
In short, anyone who requires assistance with activities of daily living can spend less time trying to uncomfortably manage a bath or shower and more time relaxing and enjoying their bathing. Having a sturdy, reliable surface to rest on while showering or bathing greatly reduces the risk of injury, promotes comfort and independence, and helps to maintain a person’s privacy and dignity while attending to personal hygiene.
Q. "What is 'phenolic'?"
A. Phenolic is a hard, dense, resin material that is light weight, and incredibly strong. This nonporous material does not splinter or require oiling and will not support the growth of bacteria. It is available in either a White or Teak (wood-grain) surface finish.
Q. "What is the maximum weight capacity for these seats?"
A. When properly installed, all Seachrome shower seats have been designed and manufactured to support loads exceeding the downward pull requirements for Federal specifications FHA, VA, HUD, hospital codes, and private construction. Reversible L-Shaped shower transfer seats are rated for 250 lbs. maximum weight. Reversible L-Shaped shower transfer seats WITH swing down legs are rated for 900 lbs. maximum weight. The actual “in use” load bearing capacity of any shower seat, however, will be limited by the strength of its mounting surface and installation hardware. Seachrome recommends that shower seats be installed using 2″ minimum thickness “in wall” solid wood backing material with #10 x 2″ stainless steel, Philips-head, sheet metal screws, or using a wall embedded, minimum 12 ga. (2.8mm) steel anchor plate with #10 x 24 stainless steel machine screws. Please contact the factory for further mounting recommendations. Under no circumstances should any shower seat be mounted to drywall, sheet rock, plaster, fiberglass, acrylic or other similar “hollow” wall surfaces without appropriate wood or steel backing material.
Q. "How do I 'reverse' the seat?"
A. The stainless steel frame for these seats is designed so that all you have to do is unbolt the seat top from the frame, flip it over, and re-bolt it to the frame whenever you want to reverse the orientation. The surface is finished on both sides and the bolt tops sit below the screw holes, ensuring a comfortable seat regardless of orientation. No special tools are required, although you may wish to keep a wrench handy for individuals who might have trouble tightening the nuts sufficiently.