The bathroom is one of the most challenging and dangerous places for a person with dementia or visual impairment. Research has highlighted that people with dementia are twice as likely to fall as others in the same age bracket, with these falls resulting in significantly higher mortality rates.
However, addressing something as small as the choice of a bathroom's lighting can help reduce those falls.
To meet this need, AKW, a leading provider of accessible home solutions has recently launched its occupational therapist specified bathroom task focus lighting range into the care sector.
According to Occupational Therapist Kate Sheehan, Director of The OT Service, extra task focused lighting in the bathroom can significantly increase bathroom safety for residents, particularly those with dementia or sight loss, which is why Kate first suggested and then helped design the AKW range.
"Kate and a number of other experts in dementia and visual impairment advised us that almost all the care bathrooms they see have inadequate lighting, with shadows, glare and dark areas," explained Stuart Reynolds, Head of Product and Marketing at AKW. "Although a single centrally located LED light may be fine for someone who only has reduced mobility, it very rarely provides enough light for those with dementia and/or sight loss."
AKW's Task Focused Lighting can be bought as single lights or as a kit, containing five narrow beam (30°) ceiling LED task lights and accessories including a blue pull cord switch. AKWs task lighting kit has been designed to give just the right type and quantity of lights to illuminate an 8ft by 6ft bathroom space. Additional lights can be purchased for larger bathroom spaces.
The ideal layout for the task lighting, as advised by Sheehan, is to have the 5 task lights placed directly over the shower area, the toilet and washbasin. This helps residents to locate shower controls and toilet flushes easily, as well as to make grooming tasks easier to perform.
For care home managers wanting to find out more, AKW has produced a 'Lighting Guide for Accessible Bathrooms' that includes expert OT advice and guidance from Kate Sheehan & her colleague Adam Ferry. This guide is available to download from AKW and explains how to light accessible bathrooms to promote independence and help reduce accidents.