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5 important things to consider when looking at assisted bathing solutions for care homes

Published On: 30th July 2021

Have you covered everything you need to think about when it comes to assisted bathing solutions for your care home?

“Good personal hygiene is essential for skin health and has an important role in maintaining self-esteem and quality of life.

Lawton S, Shepherd E (2019), The underlying principles and procedure for bed bathing patients. Nursing Times

That’s why designing a bathroom to cater for the users and staff in your care home must be done carefully. Crucial equipment for bathrooms in nursing homes include assisted baths, patient hoists and transfer aids.

Assisted bathing can help improve service user outcomes and improve the work environment for carers and nursing staff. To help you decide if an assisted bath is right for you, here are 5 important things to consider when looking at assisted bathing solutions for care homes.

Download this interactive PDF to help capture all the requirements you need to consider when choosing a new assisted bath.

1. The functions needed for an assisted bath.

Choosing which functions you need will depend on your service users, the care they require and the type of experience you would like to offer. Consider these functions which choosing an assisted bathing solution:

  • Height adjustable functions: Powered baths with Hi-Lo lifting functions can provide a safe working environment for care staff. The bath can be lowered to the level required for a safe transfer of the service user into the bath. Then the height increased to a position that is comfortable and safe for the carer to provide personal care.

  • Therapy functions: Depending on the assisted bathing range you choose, assisted baths come with a variety of therapy and spa features that provide a quality bathing experience and can improve your service users access to well-being opportunities through bathing.

      1. HydroSpa uses air bubbles to agitate the water, stimulating the muscles and blood circulation to reduce pain and inflammation.
      2. AromaSpa uses the whirlpool’s air streams to infuse different essentials oils, meaning you can provide either a relaxing, stimulating or invigorating experience depending on the essential oils used.
      3. ColourSpa uses coloured lighting to create an engaging ambience for psychological and physiological benefits.
      4. AudioSpa streams music and sounds, depending on the required outcome, to create the ultimate bathing experience for your service users.
  • Additional functions: Whilst having a height-adjustable bath is a crucial function for your care staff, there are other functions that can help with manual handling tasks when it comes to the bathing process. With some assisted baths, there is an option to add an integrated chair. Alternatively, if you are restricted by space, then an integrated drying and changing table might be suitable.

With all these options to consider, why not get in touch with Medaco. We can advise on what is best for you based on your needs or offer a free demonstration of a bath of your choice at your site.

Request a Free Demo

2. Needs and dependency of the user.

As care homes might only have a few assisted bathrooms for several residents, the needs and dependency of all your service users are important things to consider with assisted bathing. Thinking about the below factors will help you to cater for most service users or those with complex needs.

  • Safe Working Load: The Safe Working Load (SWL) of assisted baths and their lifting equipment can vary. Make sure that you account for the weight of the heaviest person you may lift when specifying the needs of your assisted bath.

  • Mobility requirements/disability/injury/other complex or challenging needs: If you have service users with low to high dependency, then a tilting or reclining bath could be a consideration. The tilting function allows users with challenging functions to semi-recline whilst the large footwell can be filled prior to entry. If your care facility provides rehabilitation or is a high dependency care environment then the Reval Cocoon range should be considered. According to Alzheimer’s Society, 70% of people in care homes have dementia. If this is the case for your care environment, you should consider an assisted bath with dementia-friendly features such as the ‘autofill’ function which stops the bath from overflowing and locking function to prevent residents from using the bath controls.

  • Entrance to the bath: Limited mobility of the service user will need an easily accessible bath with the option to add an integrated chair. With lap straps and nursing arms, users can be transferred safely and with dignity. Alternatively, you’ll need to consider either a separate bath hoist, using a mobile hoist or installing a ceiling hoist to help the users in and out of the bath.

3. Infection control.

Infection control has always been a challenge for care facilities but has been intensified by the Coronavirus pandemic. Bathrooms are breeding grounds for bacterial and high-risk cross-contamination environments. Mitigate the risk of infection with these considerations:

  • Water dispensing functions: Consider the location and design of the bath filler tap and shower function. Many assisted baths now come with a Showersafe gantry system which provides backflow protection to fluid category 5 level.

  • Controls: Handsfree or touchless sense technology of the bath controls will help to minimise cross-contamination on high-risk surface areas.

  • Spa functions: If opting for therapy solutions as mentioned above, you need to be careful of the integrated spa massage systems. Consider a bath that uses warm high-pressure air streams, rather than jet streams which shoots water that can be contaminated.

4. Safety Features.

Healthcare providers have a duty of care to ensure that their service users and staff can use the building and its facilities and the assisted bathing equipment safely. Ensure your care bath has the following features which cover safety, hygiene, and compliance.

  • Reduce the risk of contaminated water supply, with WRAS Regulations: Care facilities have a duty to comply with the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme and ensure that the bathing equipment they procure, offers safety features such as backflow protection, to prevent contamination of the water supply system. Check that the assisted bathing equipment has the appropriate certification, such as WRAS Approval (which covers the whole products) or WRAS certification (which covers certain critical components).

  • Reduce the risk of scalding from hot water, with Thermostatic Mixing Valves: The best way to prevent scalding is to ensure the assisted bath you install in your care home has Thermostatic Mixing Valves (TMV). They are designed to accurately regulate water temperatures for high-risk applications such as bathing routines within the healthcare and care home sectors. For further benefits of TMV’s, read the recommended code of practice for safe water temperature.

    In care environments, it is often the case that for some users, even normal bathing temperatures could be hazardous. These special needs must be taken into consideration when carrying out a risk assessment and confirmed to your installer when setting the maximum hot water temperature. For more information, check out the HSE guide on Managing the risks from hot water and surfaces in health and social care.

This could be a bit overwhelming to think about. But don’t worry, Medaco can cover all of this in our Free Onsite Survey. Book yours today.

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5. Cost of the bath

The cost of operating healthcare facilities continues to rise, pushing healthcare providers to seek high performing specialist equipment and services that reduce budget pressures without compromising care. When it comes to buying a new bath for your care homes, the upfront costs can be overwhelming on an already tight budget. However, there are additional costs that also need to be considered which can help you to see the lifetime cost savings made, when purchasing an assisted bath.

  • Running Costs: The cost of running an assisted bath in a care facility can increase over time. With new innovations in the design and manufacturing process, modern assisted baths can lead to operational cost savings with reduced energy and water consumption.

  • Manufacturers guarantees: Manufacturers guarantees and warranties are important to consider. Specialist baths should withstand the heavy daily use they may receive without the components and parts becoming compromised. Manufacturers with longer warranty periods instil confidence in the equipment. Even though they may cost more, to begin with, your expenses could benefit in the long run as you reduce the risk of paying out for spare parts and repair costs early on.

  • Service and maintenance costs: The cost of servicing and maintaining your assisted bath must also be considered. As assisted baths reach the end of their lifecycle, equipment downtime can cause costs to spiral out of control including spare parts and frequent call out charges. If you have a bath that is over 10 years old, the chances are that the replacement parts have, or are becoming discontinued or obsolete. This could have huge financial implications if the equipment breaks and the parts are no longer available.

  • Commercial Opportunities: Occupancy levels are an increasing concern for care homes and nursing homes. Differentiating yourself from other establishments as a quality care provider will help you attract new private residents which bring in more revenue. Investing in a specialist bath with therapeutic features can create a homely, inviting atmosphere for those who might find going into a care home daunting.

Financing an assisted bath solution:

Medaco can help save you money in the long term with several solutions:

  1. Planned preventative maintenance contracts that reduce equipment downtime and associated repair costs. Learn more about what’s included in our service and maintenance contracts. 
  2. Full Asset Management to assist in forward planning and budget forecasting to reduce any unexpected costs for equipment.
  3. Medical Equipment Leasing to spread the costs of your equipment procurement and enabling you to treat your asset as a revenue source, rather than a capital expense. Find out more about the benefits of leasing medical equipment. 

So, when considering an assisted bath, make sure the bath is suitable for the bathing and mobility needs of both the service users and carers. Ensure it is safe and hygienic by meeting water regulations. And make certain the product will last a reasonable amount of time, without the need for expensive parts.

Medaco offers a range of assisted baths for care homes, hospitals, and hospices to suit all needs. Including height adjustable baths, tilting or motion baths, dementia-friendly baths and baths with inbuilt changing tables. Our assisted baths can be used with our comprehensive choice of ceiling hoists and bath hoists, to facilitate a safer and more dignified transfer into the bath, for both the service user and carer.

Check out the range of assisted baths
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Medaco works closely with care homes to provide the right assisted bathing solutions. We can complete a free onsite demo and survey to make sure you choose the right assisted bath for your bathroom and your service user’s needs. Book an online consultation where we talk through everything covered in this guide and recommend suitable products based on your requirements.

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