Seat-like attachment bidets, such as AKW’s latest intimate care bidet, can offer a wide range of functions. Water heating and temperature control, as well as adjustable spray nozzles, are useful for promoting user comfort, as are variable drying temperatures and speeds. Bidets such as AKW’s also have an integral seat sensor safety mechanism, ensuring that the unit is only activated when being sat on. Bidets have come a long way since the early days and AKW’s intimate care unit even comes with a remote control, making it easier for the resident or their carer to operate.

As well as promoting resident independence through toileting, it is essential to ensure that both public and private bathroom spaces are as safe to move around as possible. By thinking about the flooring and lighting in high-risk bathroom areas, these falls can be minimised.

Ensure the flooring meets anti-slip standards – accessible bathroom flooring should conform to both HSE and International standards and have high barefoot and footwear slip resistance, such as AKW’s anti-slip vinyl flooring, which has a Pendulum Test Value (PTV) that exceeds wet room requirement standards.

Use flooring of a single colour and avoid speckles and shine – a person with dementia or visual impairment may assume that the colour change from flooring to a shower tray means there is a step up or down and fall. To avoid this, ensure that the wet room is finished using safety flooring in a single colour. Also avoid large speckles or shiny flooring, as these can be perceived as dirt to be picked up, or slippery flooring.

One of the easiest ways to reduce the incidence of falls within the care home environment is to make sure that areas are

sufficiently well lit for residents. To achieve this, a mix of task-specific lighting and overall ambient lighting is needed to deliver adequate light levels for showering, shaving and other personal care activities. For those with low vision or mobility issues, the avoidance of shadows, dark areas and glare are key to safe movement around the space.

To light the space well, without it feeling stark or ‘medical’, care home providers should include:

Warm coloured LED lighting – This provides shadow-free illumination and is ideal for those with visual impairment issues and dementia.

30° task-focused LED lights - The majority of lights on the market have a beam angle of 60°. However, to clearly highlight specific task areas for those with visual impairment or mobility issues, 30° beam angles are better.

Mirror lighting - Lights over mirrors, or embedded within the frame help for task-specific lighting and add a touch of glamour to the space.

Easy-to-use light switch or pull cord – A rocker switch or easy- to-hold pull cord (that isn’t in red, as this is the emergency cord colour) will ensure residents can turn the lights on and off easily every time.

You can download AKW’s intimate care and fall prevention guides – both developed in conjunction with occupational therapists – to find out how good bathroom design can promote your residents’ dignity further. - 27 -

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