How Does a Bathtub Transfer Bench Work?

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional
Updated:

A tub transfer bench works to make getting in and out of a tub and shower easier because it straddles the tub edge. So, you can sit on the outside the tub then scoot until you are inside the tub or shower.

How Does Bathtub Transfer Bench Work
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The tub transfer bench is one of the most basic bathroom safety devices available today. It significantly improves bathroom safety by making the complex process of getting into and out of the bathtub easier.

But how does a tub transfer bench work? More particularly, how can you use it safely and correctly alone?

This article has all the answers you seek. If you want to know even more, see our guide to the best tub transfer benches for seniors and the elderly.

Key Benefits of a Tub Transfer Bench

Improves Bathtub Accessibility for People With Mobility Issues

A shower bench essentially builds a bridge between the inside and outside of the tub. This bridge eliminates the need to “step” over the bathtub wall.

In doing this, the bench gives people with mobility issues the confidence to take baths in the tub without fear of slipping and injuring themselves.

Offers a Secure Place to Sit While Bathing

People with significant balance issues, weakness in the legs, and those who tire easily or have a high risk of slipping and falling will benefit mainly from a tub bench.

That’s because they can maintain their stability by sitting while showering with this secure bathroom safety device.

Increases Independence

Showering in a bathtub can be a dreadful activity for elderly persons and people with disabilities.

Because they fear slipping and falling, many elderly people end up wholly dependent on caretakers despite showering being a private affair.

A transfer bench can be used in the shower can help them overcome this fear and increase their confidence and sense of independence in the bathroom.

how does a bathtub transfer bench work set up
Keep in mind that different tub benches have various assembly instructions.

How to Set Up/Install a Transfer Bench [5 Easy Steps]

Please note that the instructions below are just a general guide. Kindly heed the warnings and directions provided by your product’s manufacturer.

1. Assemble the Bench

Different benches have various assembly methods, depending on the manufacturer. We won’t get into it here, but you can find a step-by-step tutorial in your transfer tub bench manual.

2. Verify That Your Bench is Level and Stable

To examine whether it is stable and level, lay two legs within the tub and two outside. Adjust the tub bench’s legs if the bathroom floor and bathtub floor are not level to get the bench as level as possible.

To provide a firm, clean suction grasp, you should also remove all obstructions, such as floor mats. After that, make sure it is completely stable. 

3. Position the Tub Bench

Now that your bench is level and stable and there are no obstructions, it’s time to set it in position. Set the bench in place with the suction cups inside the tub, and then push it down until the cups hold firmly.

When it comes to position, it’s all up to you. If you can bend your knees, position the bench in the middle. If you need more room because you can’t bend your knees, push it toward the back.

4. Conduct a Safety Check

Ensure that it is level, that the cups are secure, and that you can support your weight comfortably. Ask someone with decent mobility to test it out beforehand if you have any mobility concerns.

5. Usage and Removal

You can then use your bench in a process I will explain next. You should also consider a handheld shower head and holder for increased safety. Lastly, to clear space around your bathroom, take the bench out and store it in your tub after use.

how does a bathtub transfer bench work how to use
Make sure that your transfer bench is stable enough before using it.

How to Use a Transfer Bench

  • Inspect your bench’s stability.
  • Slowly sit down, feeling for the bench at the back of your legs. Use a grab bar or wall rail if you have one to keep your balance.
  • Shift as far back on the bench as possible with both legs still outside the tub.
  • Move closer to the tub wall, lift one leg over the side of the tub, then the other, carefully sliding across the bench.
  • After placing both legs in the tub, scoot backward until seated comfortably.
  • Enjoy your shower. Before leaving the bathtub, properly dry off any water on the bathroom floor to reduce the risk of falls. To exit, reverse the process above.

Final Thoughts

Transfer benches are an easy, inexpensive solution to improve bathtub accessibility while maintaining bathroom safety. They provide better stability than safety rails and grab bars because you can remain seated.

Sources:

  1. https://www.oakleyhomeaccess.com/safety-and-convenience-tub-transfer-bench/
  2. http://homeability.com/bathtub-bench-guide/
  3. https://www.equipmeot.com/install-tub-bench/
Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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