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Handicapped Bathrooms

It's a commonly well known thing that handicapped bathrooms are such important part of any home where an occupant need the use of one, that it cannot be overlooked in any good disability related blog.

While I have already touched upon handicap bathroom layout in a related article (see below), I want to cover more areas of this particular room not only in the home but also in public buildings and areas.

So first, let's take public buildings and look at where you would expect to see a handicap bathroom.

Hospitals and Day Centers

The obvious place is a hospital or day care clinic and of course there will be a separate handicapped bathroom set alongside the regular bathrooms for men and women. There are generally several of these on each floor of the building so that people's needs are covered. Also, in private rooms, the bathroom will be designed to cater for disabled users as well as patients recovering from operations.

You would also expect to see this facility in public libraries, museums, government and municipal buildings, theaters and cinemas and other publicly accessed buildings. They also appear at airports, railway stations and other public transportation buildings and waiting areas.

Stores and Other Public Places

Many larger stores provide handicapped bathroom facilities for their customers as well as many of the larger restaurants and fast food chains such as the popular burger joints, pizza parlors and steak houses to name but a few.

So we know that these days, the vast majority of publicly accessible buildings that provide bathroom facilities will also incorporate those facilities that are easy to use for people with disabilities. But what about the home? How does that stand up to scrutiny when compared with the larger public establishments?

Residential Situations

Often, the bathrooms private houses which are meant for use by people with disabilities are actually of inferior quality to the many public facilities that are now available. The main reason for this is down to pure and simple economics. This is to say, most families simply cannot afford to pay for the necessary renovations that are necessary to bring their domestic bathrooms up to the standard of the public ones.

It's more a case of having to make do with what you already have. While this is unacceptable in this day and age, the reality is that you simply cannot take money to pay for essential upgrades when that money simply does not exist. Many families are under pressure with budgets that are so strained that there simply is not enough to pay for any extras above the mortgage or rent, food, clothing and the basic human necessities of life.

Gradually, as families advance in their ability to earn extra income, certain upgrades are made possible, with the toilet often the first item of bathroom furniture to be upgraded to fit with a handicapped user's needs, along with hand rails for support. Special faucets often come next followed by a shower seat as a makeshift solution until a full blown handicap shower stall can be bought and installed.

It all takes time when a family is on a budget, so don't be too quick to judge if you know of a person with disabilities who has to make do with regular bathroom furniture. Money doesn't grow on trees, unfortunately!

Originally posted: January 6, 2010

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