Using two colours where the light reflective value (LRV) difference between both colours is greater than 30 will create the most noticeable contrast between an object and its surroundings. Furthermore, colour contrast is best achieved with contrasting shades of the same colour rather than different colours.

Clutter - Clutter and redundant objects or pieces of furniture are trip-hazards to the visually impaired, so as well as de-cluttering the bathroom, it is vital that logical routes to and from the bathroom are also de-cluttered. This minimises the risk of falling and helps support a resident’s usual routine and habits, promoting confidence and independence. Additionally, storage must be easy to access to prevent the resident from having to search or stretch. Wall mounted items such as toothpaste dispensers can help with ease of use and accuracy.

Accessibility - Accessibility, as mentioned above, is a key issue for

the visually impaired and equipment and furniture should be simple to locate and only where the resident would habitually expect to find them. Drastically changing the layout of the bathroom would make it inaccessible, and increase risks and frustration. The use of tactile devices and controls, or those with auditory feedback, such as on specially designed electric showers, also enhance accessibility and ease of use.


VISUALLY IMPAIRED With the introduction of AKW’s iCare, the world’s first wireless and Bluetooth smart electric shower that can be controlled remotely, there was a giant leap forwards in smart shower design innovation. iCare was developed in conjunction with Occupational Therapists and the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB).

The iCare shower is BEAB Care and RNIB certified and gives users

and carers the ability to tailor the temperature and flow via tactile buttons on the shower unit, or using iCare’s wireless remote control or smartphone app. Settings can be personalised and saved and alarms programmed to turn the shower on at specific times. Audible temperature and flow control indicators have been included for the visually impaired and data can be streamed to the smartphone app, monitoring flow rate, water usage and temperature. A delayed mode has also been incorporated to enable carers to transfer special needs users out of the shower before it can be reactivated.

Dignity in care is the aim of every care home, but putting it into practice on a daily basis can be challenging. By ensuring that the physical environment supports the independence of residents for as long as possible, is one piece in the puzzle of promoting their dignity whilst ensuring safety. - 23 -

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