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Bathrooms for all

The population is rapidly aging, and with limited nursing home availability there is a rising need for older people to ‘age’ in place with the assistance of home care workers.

Bathroom tasks such as washing and toileting are very challenging for both caregivers and care recipients, and not being able to use the bathroom safely is one of the main reasons forcing a move to a nursing home. However, most residential bathrooms were not designed to accommodate both a bathroom user and a caregiver, as well as the assistive and mobility devices that may be needed. The consequences of poor bathroom design can potentially include injury to the caregiver and the bathroom user, loss of autonomy and independence, as well as loss of the familiar community and sense of home if forced to move into a nursing home. In order to address this problem, there is a timely need to better understand the challenges of bathroom care in private residences and develop effective solutions.

Drawing of bathroom
This drawing shows the design of a typical apartment bathroom that has been outfitted with equipment that can help users maintain their autonomy and homes in the community for longer.

The purpose of the project is to investigate, identify and develop norm-breaking solutions within the bathroom area to meet current and future needs, to increase functionality, improve work environment and safety for caregivers and users as well as user autonomy which is at the same time economically advantageous. The specific aims are to:

  1. Investigate and understand the needs of different types of users w.r.t. features in the bathroom.
  2. Investigate and clarify work environment problems that caregivers encounter in the bathroom with the equipment and aids available today.
  3. Compare bathroom care solutions for traditional care homes with bathrooms with new functionality, with a focus on new innovative solutions in the toilet area such as, height, lowering and rotatability in combination with new aids.
  4. Investigate the financial consequences of the new toilet solutions and how they relate to current standards.

Publications based on this study: 

  • Gleisner, A. S., Eriksson, A., Forsman, M., & Rose, L. M. (2021, May). Towards Innovative Bathroom Solutions for All-A Needs Analysis . In Congress of the International Ergonomics Association (pp. 376-383). Cham: Springer International Publishing.
  • Brenda Rodrigues Coutinho, Linda Rose, Catherine Trask. (2022) Meeting the Challenges of Home Care in Small Residential Bathrooms: Creation of the Bathroom Aid Inventory. Available on page 176 of the Conference Proceedings: of the 51st NES Conference. InNES2022 The Nordic Ergonomic Society 2022. (Eds Lindblom J, Östman C.) NES. Proceedings are published on page 176 of this link.  
  • Gleisner, A. S., Rose, L., & Trask, C. (2022). Towards safety and autonomy in the home bathroom: Identifying challenges, needs and gaps. Applied ergonomics, 105, 103865
  • Stenberg-Gleisner, A.K., Papahristodoulou, N., Trask, C. (2023) Homecare in the bathroom: work postures and experienced stressors in three different bathroom designs. Conference of the Canadian Association of Ergonomists (ACE). October 2-5, 2023 Burlington, Canada. Download the conference abstract [A1] here. (pdf 119 kB)   Download the poster[A2] here. (pdf 1.7 MB)

Project funding: Afa försäkring Dnr 180 248

Project leader

Project team 

Natalie Papahristodoulou, Masters student in Biomedical Engineering

Brenda Rodrigues Coutinho, Masters student in Technology, Work, and Health