Taking an adapted shower safely!


I look forward to my shower almost as much as my first cup of coffee, but when I was first paralyzed this was so not the case. I could never warm up afterwards, and it never felt like it used to feel. But now, just feeling just the hot water on my neck and shoulders is enough to make showering one of my favorite things to do now. I finally saw the light.

How do you use of the shower if you can’t walk?  That’s one of the first things kids always ask me. And well, it’s not just a matter of just jumping in the shower now. Things are a bit more complicated for an adapted shower. And the answer? By either using a shower chair, a shower bench or maybe taking a bath. But getting into these contraptions (transfers and the like) is the hard part. Here’s a look at some of the best how to videos what it comes to getting into the shower safely and securely, and some tricks of the trade too.

The cheapest shower modification by far is that basic shower bench, and Fast Eddy, a favorite of ours here on SPINALpedia, has figured out how to do this transfer perfectly. He has a basic shower bench in a built-in tub (he replaces his bench every two years for only $150). In the video, he shows how he transfers himself by carefully angling next to the bench, then putting a towel on the top of the tub’s side (where he places his hand to brace himself) so he doesn’t slip.  He shows the basics of the chair to bench transfer, washing himself using a long loofah sponge and he does it all so effortlessly. Watch his video

The next video is a T2 paraplegic from Australia for the Spinal Hub Connection. He shows a more rare transfer for a paraplegic, but one that works well if you’re lucky enough to have a roll-in shower.  He transfers directly from his wheelchair into his shower chair, which he places in the shower before transferring into it.  He shows the safe way to move your legs once you’re sitting on the chair so he’s able to keep his balance during an adapted shower. Watch him show the transfer

And if you’re a quadriplegic and aren’t as able to keep tabs on your feet during the transfer, you’ll love this DIY creation made by SPINALpedia member fomart, which is a plastic basket he puts on his shower chair’s footrest to keep his feet stay safe during the transfer into the shower chair. It’s a great low cost solution to a problem many people with paralysis how to deal with when they take a shower – the feet not staying where you want them to. Watch him explain his creation

And if you’re looking for an easy way to add a new handle in your shower, you’ll love this video from a paraplegic showing his suction-cup handle . This handle may not be able to take the full brunt of his weight, but it’s indispensable in making sure he’s able to move around safely when he’s on his shower bench. Watch him explain how he transfers and his handle

We don’t get many opportunities as people with spinal cord injuries to really relax and let go, but that hot shower in the morning, so worth the hassle of getting in and out.  Learn to love your shower time, even if it’s an adapted shower.  It will keep your sanity. And remember to make sure your skin is happy while you’re in said showering accouterments.

What tricks have you found work for getting in and out of the shower? Did you teach yourself anything new that you didn’t learn in rehab for a successful adapted shower?

Watch the adapted shower videos!

How to transfer onto a shower bench in a built-in tub

How to transfer into a free standing shower chair (from a manual chair) in roll-in shower

Another para/tub transfer using suction-cup handlebar for a safe adapted shower

DIY protectant shower chair footrest made by C7 quad

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