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Shower Safety Bench Makes Bathroom Unsafe

Reviewing: Dynamic Living Dl6077 Pivoting Bath Bench  |  Rating:
Chris Aahz By Chris Aahz on
Badge: Author | Level: 1 | Kitchen & Bath Expertise:
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As a caregiver for developmentally disabled adults I just received a new roommate/client. At 56 he'd spent all of the last year or so living in the family home, so had almost no possessions of his own, meaning we had to do some retrofitting of the apartment to accommodate him. As a cerebral palsy sufferer his left side is very weak, he has difficulty lifting his legs beyond a certain point, and balance is not one of his strengths. Since the apartment managers wouldn't allow us to replace the tub/shower in his bathroom with a standard shower stall we needed to find a way to get him over the outside edge of the tub without falling. We turned to Dynamic Living for the solution.

The Product

We purchased Dynamic Living's Pivoting Bath Bench. Designed as a bath transfer bench, this unit sits half-in, half-out of the bathtub. The person then sits on the seat and slides into the tub, lifting first one leg and then the other into the tub.

This particular transfer bench also has a seat that swivels 90º to allow for easier access and egress. It also has a double safety lock to prevent unwanted turning and a seat belt for additional security if needed. The seat height adjusts from 18¾" to 23¼" and the seat itself is 20½" x 13¾" The overall size of the bench is roughly 37" x 19". It holds 300 - 400 pounds (depending on the length you make the bench).

Assembly

While fairly simple to assemble, it uses push button brass locking pins and predrilled holes to adjust the size and attach everything, the directions themselves are beyond useless. I'm not mechanically inclined, but after puzzling over the directions for 30 minutes I simply set them aside. From that point it took less than 5 minutes to make the bench fully functional.

The Problem

Once I got it assembled it quickly became clear that this wasn't going to meet our needs. Although it does allow my client to enter and exit the tub on his own, it occupies more than half of the tub itself. This is a result of the legs having to sit flush on the floor of the tub. However, most tubs have curved ends to make resting against them more comfortable. This means that the front edge of the bench lands just beyond the center point of the tub and approximately 1/4 of the tub is left useless behind the bench itself.

We could have worked with this. After all, half a tub is only slightly smaller then a standard shower stall. However, since the bench extends over the edge of the tub the shower curtain can't be properly closed. Even with two of us spending about 10 minutes trying to get it in the best position water was still pouring out onto the bathroom floor. As a result, although he will be able to enter and exit the tub without falling he'd be stepping out onto a wet bathroom floor which is a recipe for disaster regardless of ones physical capabilities.

Conclusions

Given the units construction the price seems exceedingly high. But this is common in home medical equipment as it's a relatively small market with few serious competitors in the marketplace.

The problems we had with this product will not be encountered by everyone. But make sure you keep them in mind before purchasing this (or any other) shower transfer bench.