Shower Chaise : An adaptive shower chair for users with limited mobility

Laura McKenney1, Tye D. Martin1, Phuong A.H. Nguyen1, Heather E. Canavan1,2

  1. Adaptive Biomedical Design
  2. University of New Mexico

For able-bodied individuals, the average time it takes to shower is eight minutes. However, for those with limited mobility, vertigo, or other issues, personal hygiene becomes an arduous task, and the routine shower takes over an hour. It can be unsafe for users who have limited stability. For these reasons, bathing is so inconvenient and difficult that it is often neglected, leading to increased risk of hygiene- related diseases such as infections, ringworm, and scabies. Currently, there is an inadequate selection of adaptable, safe, and sanitary options for hygiene needs among patients with mobility limitations. Current assistive products are costly and lack the versatility required to suit a diverse range of physical conditions. We are developing the “Shower Chaise” which combines a modular, adaptable design with affordability to reach an extensive number of clients including hospitals, nursing homes, and in-home care givers. The basic model of our design is intended for users with short-term disabilities (such as post-surgery), and includes a stable, anti-slip, and well-draining chair. We will develop additional models intended to achieve full customizability for any user. We recently filed a provisional patent on our design, and are currently fabricating prototypes for the Recovery model using 3D printing. Future work will include rigorous analysis of materials best suited to the structural support and antimicrobial resistant needs of the product such as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)/polycarbonate composites. The Shower Chaise will dramatically improve the personal hygiene experience for a wide range of limited mobility users and their caregivers.