A Patient Perspective on Handicapped Hotel Bathrooms

To understand life with a medical condition, all it takes is a glimpse of the world through the eyes of the patient. The following post–explaining why she finds accessible hotel bathrooms to be anything but–is reprinted with permission from the author, Rebecca Dutton, stroke survivor & occupational therapist. You can find the original post on her blog at www.homeafterstroke.blogspot.com. Rebecca shares some great tips for travelers.

Handicapped Bathrooms Are Badly Designed

Handicapped bathrooms in hotels I have used since my stroke are poorly designed.  The most common error I have seen is placing the towel rack on a wall ten feet away from the tub across the extra large bathroom.  It may be dangerous for a companion to turn his or her back on a disabled person and walk away to retrieve a towel.  I solved this problem by dragging the luggage rack into the bathroom.  I placed my towel and bathrobe on the rack where I could reach them while sitting on my folding shower stool.  An inexpensive solution is to place hooks near the bathtub at wheelchair height.I ran into 2 unique problems in one hotel handicapped bathroom.


1)  The shower curtain was so short and hung so far away from the tub that I could look down and see a four inch wide strip of the bathroom floor.  A wet floor is a Fall Hazard.  Before I got in the tub I did my best to soak up the water by putting a bath towel on the floor.  An inexpensive solution is to purchase longer shower curtains that can be tucked inside the bathtub.


2)  The removable shower head hanging down (photo on left) was almost impossible to use.  When I detached it to use in sitting, the shower head barely reached me because it was mounted so high on the wall.  I turned off the water while soaping up because letting the nozzle hang free made it to point outwards (photo on right).  I was not able to keep all the spray inside the tub.  A wet floor is a Fall Hazard.The extra long shower hose did not compensate for the high wall mount the plumber used.  I do not see an easy fix for this problem.


Editor’s note: As with most blogs, sometimes the real magic happens not in the post itself  but in the comments that ensue. After Rebecca published this, her readers shared their thoughts. Here is a brief but powerful comment someone left. She asks the perfect question:

Next time you travel for business or pleasure, take a closer look at your accommodations. The things you take for granted – door knobs, thresholds, sink height, outlet placement – are all potential obstacles to those who live with chronic conditions or disabilty. Just being aware of this is the first step to truly empathetic understanding of life through the patient lens.


Thank you, Rebecca, for allowing us to reprint your blog post!

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