What You Need To Know About Walk-In Bathtubs

If you, or someone in your home, suffers from limited mobility you already know that taking a bath or shower can be a major undertaking. Because traditional bathtubs require you to lift your feet and lower legs over the rim of the tub, those with mobility issues may lose their balance or may experience pain in the knees, hips or other joints, making bath time a painful or dangerous time. A walk-in bath may be the solution to your problems.

How does a walk-in bathtub work?

Walk-in bathtubs have a door built into the base of the tub. Opening the door allows you to walk into the tub and close the door behind you. The door is fitted with special seals that prevent water from leaking out when the tub is filled. Many walk-in tubs may also contain a raised seating area, nonslip surfaces, hand rails, water jets, and hand-held shower heads.

How much room does a walk-in bathtub require?

Many walk-in bathtubs take up more room than traditional bathtubs, but some models are designed to fit into the space of your current bathtub. Generally, the more special features the tub contains, the more room it will require, but always check the specifications of the brand and model you are considering to determine how much room you need to allow for installation.

Who installs walk-in bathtubs?

Companies that sell walk-in bathtubs typically provide professional installation of the tub. Some claim they can remove your old tub and install the new walk-in tub in one day, but always ask about installation time as the amount of work and time required depends on the model you choose and the set-up of your bathroom. The installation fee may be separate from the cost of the walk-in tub. Make sure you understand whether the quote from the dealer includes the installation fee or whether you will be charged separately for that service.

How much do walk-in bathtubs cost?

Walk-in bathtubs range in price, depending on the model you choose. According to Walk-In Bathtub Reviews, a price of $2,500 or below is considered a low-end walk-in bathtub. It is likely of lower quality than higher-priced tubs and contains only basic features. It further explains that the average price range for walk-in tubs is between $2,500 and $5,500, but usually does not include installation. Those selling for between $7,500 and $10,000 typically include professional installation. If the tub you are considering has a higher price tag, shop around for a similar tub with a lower price.

Will medical insurance pay for the cost of a walk-in tub?

In most circumstances, medical insurance will not pay for the cost of walk-in tubs. According to Paying for Senior Care, Medicare rarely pays for walk-in tubs. They may, however, reimburse the cost in rare instances. Likewise, Medicaid may help in some situations, but as a rule, it does not. Other local organizations may provide assistance. If you are seeking financial assistance for a walk-in tub, call your local Area on Aging organization or your state Disabilities Association. Your medical professionals may also be able to refer you to organizations that offer financial assistance.

Are there any drawbacks to walk-in bathtubs?

While walk-in bathtubs provide access to the tub for those with limited mobility, they do have some drawbacks that you should at least consider.

  • The water cannot be turned on until the person is in the tub. This makes it impossible to adjust the water temperature while safely outside the tub. This may pose a problem with burns or chilling while the bather adjusts the water temperature.

  • Water must be drained completely before exiting the tub. Many walk-in tubs have special fast-draining drains, but the bather still must wait until all the water is drained before opening the door. This may result in chilling, especially in the winter months, as the bather waits to dry off and get dressed.

If you are considering a walk-in bathtub, check the yellow pages for dealers near you. Compare both price and service and take the time to talk to the dealers about what they can offer you before you make a final decision.