Home renovations

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Tsipi

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Hi all,
My husband was diagnosed with ALS in January, and since then he has lost most function of his right hand. Thankfully he still has most motor functions in his left hand, although he has little strength in that hand.

In an effort to prepare ourselves for what lies ahead, we are looking into home renovation. We plan to enlarge the bathroom at the expense of an adjacent walk-in closet, making it a total size of 167 cm x 355 cm (no idea what that is in inches, sorry!). We plan to gut the bathtub and convert it into a walk-in (roll-in) shower, flush with the floor.

Since we haven't been able to find an affordable architect or firm that specializes in such things, we are trying to plan the layout of the bathroom ourselves and find a contractor to carry out the work. Consequently, we have tons of questions.

Our main questions are: what factors do we need to take into account when planning the layout of our new bathroom?

Is a sliding door preferable to a regular door that opens in (or out)?

Is it advisable to have the toilet in a corner, in order to place a grab rail on the wall, or could it be in the center of the wall? Should the toilet be straight ahead when you enter the room, or is it better to place it at a right angle (which is less problematic regarding rotation of the wheelchair)?

Do we need to make any provisions for a body lift (I understand this may become necessary sometime down the line)? If so, what specifications are necessary?

This is a daunting task, and we would appreciate any input you can give us. Thanks!
 

ghost_writer

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Hi,
Planning ahead is smart. The entrance door should be as wide as possible, 36 inches (91.44 cm) is a standard size in the US. Consider the swing of the door as well, when to the inside of the bathroom, your space with your pals, yourself along with a traditional wheelchair and maybe a shower chair you could find it more easy to pull the door shut from outside rather than having to clear the room for the inside swing.

Shower doors that swing may give a larger opening for chair, again think it through, a curtain may serve your needs as well. NOTE: If you use a door with a latch, be sure you can access the latch from outside the shower.

Toilet location should give you at least one grab bar. The ideal toilet height is 18 inches (45.72cm). You could use a standard toilet with a toilet seat add-on to raise the seat height. Allow as much room as possible around the toilet so you can assist with transfer when this may become necessary.

We got a wheelchair well in advance of need and practiced the transfers while my PALS was able to assist. When assistance was needed we were both on the same page so to speak.

Oh---- BTW, consider a handheld shower as well.

I'm sure other members will chime in advice.
 

Ms. Pie

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My Physical Therapist and Occupational Therapist came out and measured doorways and hallways and my bathroom and made recommendations. Then our representative from the ALS Association came out and remeasured everything and made her recommendations. We're going with the ALSA Rep's numbers to be safe. Doorways and hallways and bathrooms should be wide enough for an electric wheelchair to easily pass through. I think it's 38" at least. Someone correct me if I'm wrong. Your rep from ALSA can make recommendations for shower doors and toilet placement too.
 

Tsipi

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Jerusalem
Thanks so much for your advice. We will take all these tips into consideration. Not living in the US, our ALS association unfortunately does not provide this kind of help and could only give me very general guidelines.

Unfortunately, space is tight and I'm pretty sure we won't be able to achieve 96.5 cm (38 inch) doorways. I think the maximum we can expand our bedroom doorway is to 86 cm (34 inch). Is that sufficient? Otherwise we will have to do some major structural work.

I will play around with the measurements, and see if I can come up with a layout for the bathroom that works.

Once again, thanks for all the advice. It is good to know that there is such a supportive forum that one can turn to for help.
 

caldona

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When we remodeled our bathroom my husband put the commode right across from the shower that way he was able to run a track from the commode to the shower, we put a shower curtain on the shower so we take it down ever time I shower it sure couldn't have worked any better for us. We paid over $250 for a shower chair that you sit in then slide into the shower we don't use it anymore my potty chair works better we tape the holes in then legs up to keep out water and rust as much as possible
 

tmasters

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Much good advice has already been given.

1. I prefer the bathroom door to swing out toward the bedroom, and should be 36 inches but 34 inches should be fine.
2. No need for a shower door if you have a roll-in shower. This just gets in the way. You may consider a shower curtain, but eventually modesty goes out the window anyway so you will eventually remove it, too.
3. Ensure a 5 foot radius (152 cm) somewhere to turn the wheelchair around. This can include the shower area.
4. Ideally he can park his wheelchair along side the toilet on one side or the other to transfer.
5. Leave enough room under the sink so he can roll up to it in his wheelchair and fit his knees underneath.
6. Handheld shower head is a great idea. Get the kind on a vertical slider so you can position it at any level. "slide bar shower head".
7. Some people use a ceiling lift and have tracks mounted to the ceiling. Good idea to plan ahead but I don't have much experience on this one.

Use the search feature. Also, several here have posted pictures including myself, rose, mare, and joelc. Go to their profile page and look at their albums.

-Tom
 

Ms. Pie

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I believe that at least 34 inches will accommodate a power wheelchair if you don't mind a nicked up door frame. Can you talk to some power wheelchair people for requirements? Or maybe your doctor? They must know.
 

Ms. Pie

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caldona

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Much good advice has already been given.

1. I prefer the bathroom door to swing out toward the bedroom, and should be 36 inches but 34 inches should be fine.
2. No need for a shower door if you have a roll-in shower. This just gets in the way. You may consider a shower curtain, but eventually modesty goes out the window anyway so you will eventually remove it, too.
3. Ensure a 5 foot radius (152 cm) somewhere to turn the wheelchair around. This can include the shower area.
4. Ideally he can park his wheelchair along side the toilet on one side or the other to transfer.
5. Leave enough room under the sink so he can roll up to it in his wheelchair and fit his knees underneath.
6. Handheld shower head is a great idea. Get the kind on a vertical slider so you can position it at any level. "slide bar shower head".
7. Some people use a ceiling lift and have tracks mounted to the ceiling. Good idea to plan ahead but I don't have much experience on this one.


Use the search feature. Also, several here have posted pictures including myself, rose, mare, and joelc. Go to their profile page and look at their albums.

-Tom
We do not have a medical hoist. We bought a coffing rope hoist and double door tracks and it works great
 

Sara Lee

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Jan 28, 2012
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11/2009
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NY
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Our bathroom is a total of 6X8 feet. We have a handheld shower and no door, only a curtain which is seldom used.
 

arkallen

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Mar 8, 2009
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05/2009
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AU
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VIC
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Wodonga
I've recently finished my bathroom, and it has made such a difference. By extending into a workshop wehave a chieved 2.4m X 3.0m, which I think fits Austrialian dissability standards. This ammount of room is excellent. Tom covered several points that we used, and I would agree strongly with dispensing with the shower curtain or screen, We have neither and it's so much easier and more spacious. We have both an overhead shower rose (600mm from both walls) and a handheld shower hose, each on their their own mixing valve. This is the best! I recommend it strongly, a carer can use the hand held while I stay very warm under the rose (which is large, 200mm). Using a shower commode chair means I can be rolled forward when need be, so the carer doesn't get too wet from the overhead shower. Luxury!
We also made a recessed shelf in the wall, rather than having a shelf sticking out from the wall which might be banged into
 

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Ms. Pie

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Wish we had the "like" button. Love your remodel Arkallen!
 

Bad Balance

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GA
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Do some searches...many posts on this; some with full photos of the bath.
 

Miss

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We used the proline drain in our shower remodel. Fantastic. We also have the sliding bar hand held as well as a regular shower head. We also put in a bench, which I have loved! For Terry, it was used for supplies. I have a decorative curtain tied to the side (we have a very, very large shower opening, so it never got in the way) Lilke Roderick, we put in two recessed shelves for supplies. We also used the rolling shower/commode by Etac. It was so fantastic, by placing a gel cushion over the commode hole, we used it as his transport chair around the house! Terry would even sit in it on the patio in the mornings! If we could have had a sliding pocket door, I would definitely have opted for that! It would have been so much easier. If I can figure out how to take pictures, I will post them!
 

mich5

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west
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mid
Thanks for the info! I'm having some input from ALS Association on a bathroom remodel over the summer (the recurring theme here is 'do the changes before needed'). The recessed shelves are a great idea - more room plus less chance of being harmed. I'll be checking other threads for some additional pictures. You guys are great!
 
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