Ensuite and assisted bathroom design

When designing ensuites and bathrooms it is essential to understand both work practices and patient handling requirements. A significant amount of patient handling takes place during both bathing and toileting of residents and good design is essential to reducing the risk of resident and caregiver injury.

The following patient handling equipment may be used, which influences the spatial requirements and design elements of the bathroom:

  • Mobile lift
  • Ceiling lift
  • Shower chair
  • Walking aids
  • Sit-to-stand lift
  • Shower trolley
  • Wheelchair


Shower design should include allowances for grab rails to be fitted to the wall and a fold-up shower seat or sufficient space for a height-adjustable shower chair and shower trolley. The use of open space in a shower can increase the likelihood of caregivers working in an ergonomic way when showering dependent residents. 


In health care, the use of low baths or spa baths should be avoided as the risk of both resident and caregiver injury increases. Use of a raised height or height-adjustable bath is recommended. If mobile lifting equipment is to be used in the bathroom, there should be enough space under the bath for the legs of the lift. Grab rail should also be fitted to aid in the handling of residents.


The design of toilets should take into consideration the following:

  • Where possible the toilet should be located directly opposite the door to minimise the unnecessary maneuvering of mobility aids (e.g. wheelchairs and mobile lifts)
  • Height of toilet specifically in relation to mobility and equipment needs of residents. In some cases a height-adjustable toilet is recommended
  • Adequate space around the toilet to accommodate caregivers, patient handling equipment and sideways transfer of wheelchair users
  • Positioning of both toilet roll holders and grab rails for maximum flexibility

In order to minimise the risk of injury to both resident and caregiver ceiling lifts should be considered.

The Hill-Rom Construction Portal brings you supporting tools to design your specific area according to local spatial requirements and regulations. Click on one of the options below for further information.

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