Spatial requirements in hospital shower and toilet rooms
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Spatial requirements in hospital shower and toilet rooms

Sue Hignett Senior lecturer in ergonomics, Healthcare Ergonomics and Patient Safety research Unit (HEPSU), Department of Human Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire;
Daniel Evans Ergonomics simulator, Dunton Technical Centre, Dunton, Bedford

Aim To determine the spatial requirements for hoist use in an assisted shower-toilet facility.

Method A simulation of two shower-toilet facilities (built since 2000) was constructed in a laboratory to compare a mobile hoist and a gantry (overhead) hoist for the task of transferring a patient from a wheelchair to the toilet. Twenty participants were recruited and trained in the use of both hoists. Data were recorded using video cameras and analysed for the space used to complete the task, time taken and postural risk scores.

Results The mobile hoist needed significantly more space, took significantly longer and exposed the handlers to higher postural risks than the overhead hoist.

Conclusion Larger shower-toilet rooms should be planned and built as accessible facilities with sufficient space for independent and assisted wheelchair users. The findings will have an impact on the recommendation for increased numbers of single rooms with ensuite facilities in new hospitals. Healthcare planners and designers may need to consider building specific facilities for assisted wheelchair users rather than providing a ‘one space fits all’ solution.

Nursing Standard. 21, 3, 43-48. doi: 10.7748/ns2006.


Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review