Bathroom Accessibility

bathroom_clip_image001 Doors

Doors can be a pathway to a whole new world or the gateway to lost possibilities.

  • Widen doorway to a minimum of 36″ to maximize ease of entry and exit. If this is not possible, widen doorways 30″ and use swing-away door hinges.
  • Use pocket doors (doors that slide into the wall) whenever feasible to promote access
  • The dining table should be as close to the food preparation as possible. This decreases the distance of carrying hot and/or heavy food items. If this is not possible, use of a rolling cart or an intermediate storage area can be helpful.

Grab Bars:

  • Grab bars are designed to provide a stable handhold to help prevent persons from falling and injuring themselves as well as aiding a person to sit on and to stand up from a toilet. This is particularly helpful in a slippery environment.
  • There are currently a wide variety of grab bar styles and colors in the consumer market. This will allow one to choose a style that matches the décor of their bathroom.
  • If space permits, install a sink basin to pre-soak laundry items which can easily be transferred to the washer or dryer.
  • Mount grab bars at appropriate locations and heights. If you are unsure as to where and what height to mount a grab bar, contact an occupational therapist or a building contractor familiar with ANSI 117-a regulations.


  • Utilize non-skid flooring materials to minimize falls and injury


  • Sinks should be mounted at a height that allows a person sitting at a sink or a wheelchair user to fit under the sink; usually a 30″ under-sink clearance is necessary.
  • Wall mounted sinks provide the greatest access
  • Insulate exposed pipes to prevent accidental burns # Levered handles should be used at the sink. Closed fist operation is helpful for persons with arthritis.
  • It is a good idea to install an anti-scald device to further prevent accidental burns

Bathtub & Shower:

  • Should be a minimum of 36″ wide for comfortable use by manual wheelchair users and wider for power-wheelchair users.


  • Grab bars can be used around the toilet to help with stability while sitting onto and standing from the toilet
  • Elevated toilets, ADA standard, can help those people who have difficulty sitting or bending
  • If buying a new toilet is cost prohibitive, buying a raised-toilet seat is an inexpensive option
  • If you are planning to use a rolling shower/commode wheelchair, keep in mind that these wheelchairs will not roll over elevated toilets

Other Considerations:

  • Install a telephone that can be reached from the floor in the bathroom. In case of a fall, you can readily call for help. A less expensive alternative is to bring in a cordless telephone whenever you bathe.
  • Cabinetry handles should facilitate ease of opening drawers and doors. Closed fist operation is a good rule of thumb.
  • Mount the toilet-tissue holder at an appropriate distance.
  • Provide brighter lights to help those with impaired vision.
  • Mirrors should be mounted at a height that a seated person can view themselves. If remounting a mirror is not feasible, tilting the existing mirror at a downward angle will also work.
  • For additional solutions, contact the PVA or an occupational therapist for more information.