Falling in the bathroom seems to be an unhealthy or even deadly occurrence for senior citizens. Over eleven million seniors fall in a bathroom every year! Add to that the many handicapped people who do not qualify as senior citizens and you can see that this is a serious health concern. Handicap bathtubs should be as accessible as canes and walkers, but they can be very expensive, an insurmountable problem for the people who need them and are on a fixed income.
The current thinking is to add a swivel seat, grab bars, rails, or poles assuming that the handicap is limited to the lower extremities. Walk-in style bathtubs are available and, while probably the safest choice, they are often prohibitively pricey. Private insurance for it and Medicare will help with the cost, but being driven by statistics, they prefer to dole out big bucks to someone who is apt to be around more than a couple of years. Walk-in tubs are available from a wide variety of producers and can cost less than $1000.00 if you sacrifice the luxury of optional elements like accessible temperature control, whirlpool capability, hydrotherapy, a heater, or an air drying feature. Any walk in tub will probably have a hand held shower head feature and a raised seat for easy transfers. There are also step-in styles that require a bit more mobility.
Doors that swing outward are said to make transferring from a wheelchair or walker easier. Doors that swing inward are popular because they are considered a stronger and more efficiently sealed mechanism. There is no door hanging into the bathroom taking up space and possibly dripping onto the floor. It is not possible to accidentally open an inward swinging door while in a filled tub.
If you are blessed with elderly parents or a beloved handicapped relative, a handicapped bathtub can be a much appreciated, life saving gift.