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Top Tips for Safe Specification in Care Homes

Care isn’t an area to cut corners on quality – and that’s why we’ve worked hard to create bathroom products that deliver only the highest level of safety for care homes. From accessibility to TMV3 compliant showers, our products are created to suit the varying requirements of care home design and satisfy the latest safety regulations.

Incorporate thermostatic technology

Scalding is one of the most common risks found within a bathroom – and HSE has identified that elderly people are among the most at-risk groups. Investing in showers with thermostatic technology is a guaranteed way to ensure the safety of care home residents.

A thermostatic mixing valve (TMV) works by blending the hot and cold water supply together to create a safer, more desirable temperature before reaching the shower head. Plus, it has an automatic shut-off feature that prevents any unexpected hot or cold spikes, creating a smooth, safe showering experience for the user. Our Bristan brand has a range of thermostatic showers – from electric and bar showers to its newly updated OPAC TMV3 commercial shower range.

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Infection control measures

Scalding isn’t the only concern when assessing the risks within a bathroom; legionella is another consideration – which can result from poorly maintained TMVs. If elderly users become exposed to the bacteria, they’re at risk of developing Legionnaire’s disease – an infection that can be potentially fatal.

This risk is reduced by carrying out a regular flushing routine or investing in products that make the maintenance routine more autonomous. Bristan’s new OPAC TMV3 commercial shower range, for example, has been brilliantly designed with a patented built-in thermal flushing system, which supports infection control and anti-legionella regimes.

DOCM Care homes

Keep accessibility front of mind

Whether you have residents who are wheelchair users or residents with limited mobility, it’s important to incorporate accessibility into a showering space for safety.

This can be achieved by installing grab and rest rails to offer users the freedom to enjoy more independent bathing, while keeping them safe and preventing any falls. Bristan has a range of DocM packs that meet all relevant safety standards, including DocM, LABC and Part M of the Building Regulations and the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), offering safe, flexible and durable design.

Residents with visual impairments will need strong contrasting colours in bathrooms (for example, white rails on white walls are to be avoided), so Bristan’s range comes in a variety of colours.

Choosing a shower with a lever-operated handle can also support accessibility, which is available in Bristan’s OPAC commercial shower range. Dexterity often decreases as people get older, so this design offers a more tactile and intuitive option.

Make economical choices

With any public sector build, it’s important to keep costs down. A simple way to save water in care homes is to opt for a flow regulator, which can easily be added onto taps and showers. Most standard showers distribute a shower flow rate of 13.5 litres per minute, but with a flow regulator, a shower will only distribute water at a rate of 10 litres per minute — and the difference in shower performance is barely noticeable. 

Another consideration is how residents and their behaviour may affect water usage. The effects of dementia and other memory-related disorders can often result in individuals forgetting everyday tasks that would have once come naturally to them — for example, turning off taps after use. This could result in the bathroom getting flooded and leave them vulnerable to falls. Although primarily a safety issue, a tap that’s left running can quickly rack up water bills or cause damage to the building. For care homes where dementia patients are present, installing timed-flow taps are beneficial so that only a set amount of water can be dispensed at any one time.

If you’d like to speak to one of our Specification Managers about infection control products for your next project, get in touch with us.