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Bath lifts and hoists

Bath Lifts And Hoists Panel

Taking a relaxing bath is an essential part of maintaining personal hygiene and well-being. However, for older adults, difficulty entering or exiting the bathtub can become a significant obstacle to independent bathing. This can lead to a reliance on others, a loss of confidence, and even potential skin problems due to infrequent bathing.

Common scenarios and concerns

Lifestyle and equipment options to help you

Difficulty entering or exiting the bath: Increased fall risk, reduced bathing independence, and potential for injury.

This can lead to feeling reliant on others, loss of confidence, and potential skin problems due to infrequent bathing.

Bath lifts: Electric or battery-powered chairs that gently lower and raise you into and out of the bathtub.

Limited mobility or weakness: Difficulty transferring from a wheelchair or standing unsupported.

This can lead to increased reliance on carers and the potential for falls during transfers.

Hoists: Mobile lifting devices that safely transfer you from a wheelchair, shower chair, or another seating position into the bath.

Limited space in the bathroom: Traditional bath lifts may not be suitable for small bathrooms.

This can lead to feeling restricted in your bathing options due to lack of space.

Compact bath lifts: Specially designed models for smaller bathrooms to maximise space.


Understanding the challenges

Here are some common reasons why getting in and out of the bath can become challenging:

  • Reduced mobility or weakness: Difficulty transferring from a wheelchair, standing unsupported, or manoeuvring safely in the bathtub can significantly increase the risk of falls.
  • Stiffness or pain: Bending, reaching, or lowering yourself into the bath can be painful or uncomfortable for those with arthritis or other mobility limitations.
  • Balance problems: Loss of balance can make navigating the slippery bathtub surface dangerous.

The benefits of bath lifts and hoists

Bath lifts and hoists offer a safe and dignified solution for individuals who require assistance with bathing. Here's how they can benefit you:

  • Increased independence: Maintain your independence and privacy during bath time without relying on others for assistance.
  • Reduced fall risk: Eliminate the need to climb over the bathtub edge, significantly reducing the risk of slips and falls.
  • Improved safety: Bath lifts and hoists provide a secure and supported transfer into and out of the bath.
  • Enhanced confidence: Regain your confidence and sense of self-sufficiency when it comes to bathing.

Types of bath lifts

  • Electric bath lifts: These operate using a handheld control or a control panel on the lift itself. They offer smooth, motorised lowering and raising into the bathwater.
  • Battery-powered bath lifts: These portable options are ideal for occasional use or travel. They are typically lighter in weight than electric models.

Bath lift features to consider

  • Weight capacity: Ensure the lift has a weight capacity that exceeds your weight.
  • Seat style: Choose a comfortable, padded seat with features like armrests and a backrest for added support.
  • Swivel function: A swivel seat allows for easier transfers from a wheelchair or shower chair.
  • Reclining backrest: For additional comfort and support, consider a lift with a reclining backrest.
  • Compact design: If you have a small bathroom, a compact bath lift specifically designed for limited space may be a better option.

Types of hoists

Hoists are mobile lifting devices that can be used for various transfers, including transferring you from a wheelchair or shower chair into the bath.

Hoist features to consider

  • Type of hoist: Ceiling-mounted hoists are permanently installed, while mobile hoists are freestanding and offer more flexibility.
  • Weight capacity: Similar to bath lifts, choose a hoist with a weight capacity that exceeds your weight.
  • Lifting sling: The sling design should be comfortable and supportive for safe transfers.

Choosing the right bath lift or hoist

The best option for you will depend on your specific needs and bathroom layout. Here are some tips to help you choose:

  • Consult with an occupational therapist: An occupational therapist can assess your specific needs and recommend the most suitable bath lift or hoist for your situation.
  • Consider your bathroom size: Measure your bathroom to ensure there's enough space for the chosen bath lift or hoist to operate safely.
  • Trial the equipment: If possible, try out different models to find one that is comfortable and easy to use.

Additional things to consider

  • Installation: Some bath lifts are easy to install, while others may require professional installation.
  • Maintenance: Regular maintenance is crucial for ensuring the safe and proper functioning of your bath lift or hoist.
  • Funding: Financial assistance may be available to help cover the cost of a bath lift or hoist. Explore options with your local council or social services.

Where to buy equipment to help you get in and out of the bath 

Plymouth City Council, NHS Devon, and Livewell Southwest have jointly commissioned NRS Healthcare to deliver the Safe+Well service, and they have over 2,500 daily living aids that you can purchase by mail order, telephone, or online.

View the Plymouth Safe+Well website

NRS has a dedicated phone line with a trained team of specialists who can answer any questions you might have. Just call 0345 6461860.

Other places to buy equipment from:

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  • Free assessment tool: Select the area of difficulty that is relevant to you. You will then be asked a few questions to guide you towards helpful daily living aids. 
  • Free telephone advice line: Complete the online form, and we will contact you to arrange a convenient time to call.



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