At Home Home Modifications Wheelchairs

Collapsible Wheelchair Showers

Every now and then I see a product that just screams “DIY” — not at all, presumably, the response an entrepreneur is looking for. At a recent WCDExpo, one booth featured a wheelchair shower system. Cool, potentially, since it was meant to use an existing sink (probably in a kitchen), and could be collapsed and put away when not in use.

It was a very simple idea: a frame, a tent/shower curtain, a base (about 4 inches deep if I recall it correctly), a hose-and-faucet arrangement for the spray, and a pump and hose to return the used water to the sink. Great, huh? Except that the selling price was right around $2400. That’s two thousand, four hundred dollars, mates.

collapsible water damFor twenty-four hundred dollars I could have my bathtub ripped out, the floor tiled, and a nice Collapsible Water Dam ($70) installed. Heck, at that price, I could even have my toilet moved if I needed to.

But say I wanted a Collapsible Shower Stall instead. Couldn’t I just run down to the local camping supplies store and pick up a shower frame? Drop in at Tarjay for a handheld shower spray? Pick up a small pump and hose at Home Depot? The basin might be a little tougher, but somehow I think I could find something that would contain up to three inches of water for less than $2,400. Maybe just a fiberglass shower floor set on the kitchen floor, with a no-slip mat under it.

paha teepeeIn fact, I might just be tempted to make my own wheelchair shower using Paha Que Wilderness’ Teepee Shower with Fiberglass Poles ($169) and the accessory Teepee Drain Capture Floor ($50). Add a hand-held shower head to clip onto the kitchen faucet ($24 on up to wherever, depending on how fancy), and that’s enough to shower right there, all for for say, $250. Modification might be necessary, but, hey, I’d rather cut the front of the Teepee shower away than spend an additional $2250 for a kludgee-looking commercial version.

I admit the return pump is a bit trickier, although there are aquarium pumpspaha drain floor out there which don’t electrocute fish and might do the job effectively. Or, alternatively, it might just make sense to let the water collect in the Capture Floor and empty it before leaving the shower. I’m guessing that drain plug could be adapted to take a short length of garden hose, if it doesn’t already.

I haven’t tried this, and I can’t say how practical it really might be — caveat emptor! And clearly, if there are long-term needs involved, a portable shower in the kitchen isn’t necessarily the answer — whether it costs a couple of hundred or a couple of thousand dollars. But some of these “disability aids,” and their price tags, leave me wanting to scream. Don’t you just know that that one word — “disability” — can cost you hundreds (or thousands), for seemingly no reason at all. Why? How hard is it to build a cheap, portable, roll-in shower?

Paha Que Wilderness (It’s another stupidly designed site: scroll down the page and click on “Paha Que Store is now open” to get to the products.)