Wall-mounted or mobile: which shower bench should I choose?
Each product Wealden Rehab sells has been manufactured to comply with CE and other safety standards. Both the wall-mounted and mobile shower/changing tables adhere to these guidelines. However, it is widely perceived that the mobile shower trolley has added safety features, especially when a user needs additional support.
The wall-mounted bed can only be accessed from one side, as the other is against the wall, whereas the mobile trolley has the benefit of being able to be moved into a position where care assistants can stand either side of the user which results in more dignified care. A shower trolley also benefits from end guards too.
Wall-mounted beds often are designed to fold up against the wall when not in use. This can be a huge benefit if space is a premium.
Whilst the folding bed has a handy feature, some carers struggle with the weight of the platform. However, our newest changing table will have an electrical fold, meaning it is user friendly for all.
The way in which you want to use the shower bench may inform your choice from a comfort aspect.
A wall-mounted bed is usually equipped with a perforated platform which allows the shower water to drain through and can have the option of a water collection tray. The bed can be perforated in HT vinyl, vinyl-coated mesh or foam padding.
The mobile shower trolley works in a slightly different way, with sides that enclose the trolley platform and an easy-close drain plug. Water can be run into the trolley to create a shallow bath. This has advantages from a personal hygiene and sensory (or just for fun) feature!
Generally, stability is not an issue for either the wall-fix or mobile option, however you need to choose a product that will stand up to the rigours of life.
A wall-mounted bed is generally fixed to the lifting-mechanism in two positions along one side, and this normally provides excellent end to end stability. However, be aware that this bed relies on a cantilever hinge and therefore can sometimes flex slightly if the user sits on the edge to transfer.
Choose carefully if you opt for a mobile trolley! Some trolleys have a single point connection between the base chassis and the top platform, which can allow the table to rock from side to side when performing a log-roll manoeuvre. Our Barella trolley has a much improved dual-point platform connection, which delivers a sturdy platform that is ideal for more active users or for situations where you want to do a lot of rolling for drying and dressing.
Access is important, and for some users a successful transfer can only be achieved if the platform is very low.
Wall-mounted beds have the advantage of a mechanism which allows for very low entry height, whilst still delivering adjustment to a suitable working height. The Premium 200 bed can be lowered all the way down to just 300mm (12”) from the floor, so it can be accessed by a smaller user from a lower seat height or is perfect for a crawling transfer from the floor.
A mobile shower trolley does have less travel in height adjustment but can usually accommodate users who are transferring from a standard adult wheelchair.
Dimensions of the bench, mobile or wall-mounted, are critical to the success of the product.
Wall-mounted benches have some limitations; the wider the bench, the stronger the cantilever and mechanism will need to be. Consider also that the wider the bench on a wall mount, the more difficult is can become to manage the user. Leaning over a bed to initiate a rolling transfer can be unsafe and the further a care assistant has to reach, the more risk they are placed under.
Mobile trolleys are the better choice for when a wider platform is required. Not all trolleys are equal, so it is wise to check the physical platform width, not just the overall width of the trolley.
If the length of the bench is the most critical feature, then the choice changes slightly. Because of the way a wall-mounted bench is constructed, it is slightly easier to obtain (or commission) a bench with a specific length. Whilst a mobile trolley will probably be available in a couple of platform length options, these are limited due to the sizes of the liners.
Needless to say a wall-mounted bed isn’t going anywhere! If you want to mobilise the bed then a wheeled trolley is really your only option.
A mobile shower trolley benefits from being on castors for easy rolling and steering. This is particularly of value if you want to carry out a lateral transfer from a bed, and then wheel through to an adjacent shower room.
Of course if you’re installing in a public space, then a fixed option may be your best choice. With everything else considered, if your bench can’t be wheeled from the room then at least you know it’ll be there next time you want to use it!
A wall fixed bench and a mobile bench will cost roughly the same amount to purchase, depending on the specification. However, with a wall-fix option you will need to pay for an installation service which includes the LOLER safety check and a connection to mains power, so a wall-fixed option will often end up costing more.
It’s possible that you may need to choose your solution based on the environment in which it is to be placed. A mobile shower trolley can be adjusted for height using either a hydraulic pump (entirely manual operation) or by battery-powered motor. In this instance the batteries need to be charged periodically, but both of these choices of adjustment system allows the trolley to be completely mobile and not restricted in it’s operation just because it’s not near a mains powerpoint.
If you’re adjusting the trolley for height on a daily basis, or if your user is heavy it’s likely that you’ll want to provide a powered lift option. This reduces the risk for the care assistants and makes the height adjustment smooth and effortless.
A wall-mounted bed is always powered (unless you’re choosing a static height version). Mounting on the wall makes it a more natural choice to connect the bench to mains power, ensuring that the bench is always ready to use. If there is no mains power readily available (and contracting with an electrician to get a power socket into place could be an expensive project) then some of our benches have the option of being powered by a removable battery. The battery can be detached and placed on a charger in a different location.
We hope this helps in negotiating the choices in this area!