Children with cerebral palsy and other birth injury disabilities need adaptive equipment for things that the average parent may not even think of. Don’t worry, parents: your local cerebral palsy Association will work with you to create a Life Care Plan for you child, and compile a list of adaptive equipment that your child may need. You may find on that list a bath or shower chair. To understand more about how this is considered adaptive equipment for your child with cerebral palsy, continue reading below.
What is a Bath or Shower Chair?
A bath or shower chair is a waterproof chair that is designed to go inside the bathtub or (more likely) the shower. There are no bath or shower chairs designed specifically for individuals with cerebral palsy, and, indeed, bath and shower chairs are designed for individuals with many different needs. For example, bath and shower chairs are also used by the elderly when they can no longer stand for long periods of time in the shower (or can’t depend on their own balance), and for patients of surgery or of other disabilities.
Where Do You Get a Bath or Shower Chair?
Because bath and shower chairs are intended for a long list of patients with different needs, you can get bath and shower chairs at any pharmacy. They can be free-standing or wall-mounted, they can fold in half or not fold at all. They can have handles in various positions for optimum use, or they can have no handles, making it easier for the care taker. Because there are so many options, pricing for bath and shower chairs ranges from about $20-$180. If you are trying out a bath or shower chair and don’t know that you want to purchase one, some communities have Catholic Charities that will loan the chair to you for a small donation.
Why Do You Need a Bath or Shower Chair?
If you have a child with cerebral palsy, you (or your child’s caretaker, if you are not the primary caretaker) may find that it is difficult to properly clean the child without one. Because children with cerebral palsy have a neurological disorder that affects how they move their muscles, some muscles may be stiff and some may be floppy.
Additionally, some forms of cerebral palsy may include occasionally spastic behavior, making cleaning difficult. If you have the child in a bath chair, you can have the child sit for much of the cleaning and stand temporarily and hold onto the chair so that you can clean the rest of the child. It’s important for the child to hold onto the chair at some point as children with cerebral palsy often have a hard time with balance. Having a bath or shower chair provides the opportunity for the child to be as safe as possible for a routine that is essential to any human’s health and well being.