An Innovative Solution

One of the great things about traveling around the world is that I get to see a wide variety of innovative access solutions. Some are good, while others are not quite ready for prime time. Fortunately this trip is filled with the former rather than the latter.

For example, yesterday while I was in Saranac Lake (NY), I found a great solution to the roll-in shower “flood the bathroom” problem. We?ve all seen it in action ? you take a shower in a level threshold roll-in shower and open the shower curtain to find Lake Superior in the bathroom when you are done.

Most of the time it?s due to incorrect installation of the roll-in shower or improper grading of the bathroom floor. I should note that it is possible to grade the floor correctly because I?ve also seen excellent examples of ?Continental showers?, with nary a drainage problem. But I digress. The fact is that many of the ?out of the box? pre-fab roll-in showers are just not installed correctly.

In any case, yesterday as I was doing a routine property inspection I happened across a great solution to this bothersome problem. At first glance it looked like the roll-in shower had about a 2-3 high inch lip. My stomach sank as I saw it, because although it would keep the water in, it would be a challenge for somebody in a shower chair. Apparently the manager saw the disappointment in my face, so he bent down and lifted out the whole lip section (which was also about 2-inches wide). ?It?s removable,? he said a matter-of-factly.

Now granted, some wheelchair-users might require assistance to remove the strip, but it?s fairly light and can also be lifted and replaced with a grabber. The point is, you can remove the lip, then roll into the shower and replace it for your shower. The result is that the water flows down the shower drain instead of out into the bathroom. What a great idea! And apparently it?s available ?off the rack? in some pre-fab roll-in showers. Hopefully more manufacturers will follow this very accessible lead.

Oh, and the best part about all of this, is that I found this feature in a historic property. More and more folks are jumping on the access bandwagon these days. And that?s very good news!