An adult changing table provides safer transfers, comfortable positioning, and a secure space for caregivers to aid weakened or disabled adults who may need assistance with incontinence problems or getting dressed. Offering a great solution for assisting disabled individuals in the daily living task of changing clothes and adult diapers, an adult changing table also helps to reduce the possibility of back strain and other injury to the caregiver.
Features to consider when choosing an adult changing table
Environment: institution, or in-home?
Each adult changing table is specifically designed for use either in a hospital, home, school, or long-term care facility.
Certain tables may by larger and less mobile, and are generally installed in one place to be used many times throughout the day. While these tables can be appropriate for home use at times, they may be too large to be appropriate in a home.
Other tables are more compact, able to be moved from room to room, and better suited for single-person use in a home environment.
Available space: limited, or generous?
Knowing your table’s measurements ahead of time will help you incorporate the changing table into your home smoothly.
If your adult changing table is to be used between rooms, measure your space (and then measure again!) to make sure it will fit through the doorways and around corners.
You’ll also want to know the table’s length and width to determine how it will fit within the space it’s going to occupy. The ability to walk around the table with some clearance will be necessary during transfers, and while taking care of your patient or loved one.
Some tables are designed to be mounted permanently to the wall. The clear advantage of a wall-mounted changing table is that it can fold down when not in use, taking up very little space in your space!
These models are more costly, and are typically used in schools or hospitals. When installed correctly, these changing tables are ADA-compliant - meaning they meet, or exceed, government safety standards for changing disabled adults.
Weight capacity: standard, or bariatric?
Most adult changing tables can bear around 300 pounds. These tables, considered to be of standard size, are a great choice for most in-home users as well as institutional settings.
However, if you or your loved one have a higher body mass, then look for an adult changing table labeled “bariatric”.
Some manufacturers offer bariatric models alongside their usual standard models, and these bariatric tables can support patients up to 1,000 pounds.
Placement: portable, or fixed?
A crucial point in narrowing down your selection of an adult changing table is choosing between fixed and portable models.
Models designed for mobility will have casters, or wheels. Always be sure a portable table comes with large, hospital-grade caster wheels, particularly if you plan on using it as a backup mobility stretcher in case of emergency - and always look for a table with safety side rails!
What other features should I consider when choosing an adult changing table?
If your table will not be used room to room, no wheels are needed. There are, however, other features you’ll want to look for, including:
- Floor levers or pedals make it easy to raise and lower the table to an ergonomically correct height. This feature also brings the table to a level that allows easy transfers to and from a standard wheelchair.
- A wide base, providing a low center of gravity, stability, and less likelihood of tipping
- Antimicrobial upholstery for easy cleaning and reduced risk of infections
Some tables come with waist straps, which offer increased security to the patient, especially if they tend to move or roll while in a prone position.
Other changing tables are specifically meant for use in the shower, or for bathing someone as they lie prone on the changing table. These kinds of tables generally attach to the wall, but also have two legs for complete stability.
Shower changing tables allow the caregiver to achieve thorough cleaning of a patient or loved one, as fluids are captured in a reservoir and later drained through a hose.
Using this type of table eliminates the undignified struggle to help a patient remain upright while attempting to bathe them thoroughly.
Standout brands of adult changing tables
Armedica's Hi-Lo Changing Table is thoughtfully designed for caregivers needing the option to raise and lower the table to meet the patient at any level. Complete with side rails and created for mobility, this table appeals to a wide variety of patient needs and allows for easy room-to-room transitions.
Rifton is a company which manufactures a range of adaptive equipment for both adults and children with disabilities. Their Hygiene Support Station offers a unique approach to changing and toileting, with benefits that go far beyond hygiene and comfort!
The Hygiene Support Station allows clients and loved ones to remain in an upright position, rather than in an infant-like prone position. This change alone reintroduces dignity and independence to the caregiving situation.
With the Hygiene Support Station, even those with limited weight-bearing ability can participate in their care. The user leans on a flat surface which tilts to varying degrees, and holds onto any number of slots or handles.
With the fixed design, a kneeboard adds extra support, and can be used with a rolling commode. For users with enough foot movement, a table's pivot design eliminates the kneeboard, and allows users to pivot themselves into a seated position over a toilet.
Facilities using the Hygiene Support Station report not only increased independence, but more alertness and confidence in their residents.
Who would benefit from using an adult changing table?
Adults with muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s disease, paraplegia, or those recovering from a stroke will likely need some level of assistance with toileting and dressing.
An adult changing table will make a huge difference in the daily lives of these individuals, as well as in the lives of caregivers.
Your loved one will feel safe and secure on a table with guard rails and comfortable padding, and caregivers will not have to strain their backs to by manually bending and lifting on a daily basis.
Hospitals and long-term care facilities should also consider implementing these tables to ensure safety and ease of changing and toileting for their patients, and ergonomically correct positioning for their staff.
Ultimately, the benefit is this: the entire changing process becomes more dignified for both patient and caregiver.
Caring for a loved one can become a warm, interactive experience, rather than a chore that leaves both people feeling exhausted and often embarrassed.
Does Medicare typically pay for adult changing tables?
Medicare Part B covers Durable Medical Equipment (DME). Such equipment must be prescribed by your doctor, and must meet the following criteria, as listed on Medicare.gov:
- It is durable (can withstand repeated use)
- It is used for a medical reason, not for convenience – this might be a tough one when it comes to a changing table, but depending on the medical condition involved, it can be proven
- It is not useful to someone who isn’t sick or injured
- It has an expected life of at least three years of use
Will private insurance cover changing tables?
While insurance companies and policies do vary, any item determined to be Durable Medical Equipment is generally covered by private insurance. Check with your insurance provider to determine whether the item you wish to purchase is covered, and to what extent.
Visit RehabMart's catalogue page for a full range of description of our full range of adult changing tables. One of them will certainly meet the unique needs of your loved one, and make life so much easier for you!
Want to learn even more? Find dozens of videos featuring products and caregiver tips like these at Rehabmart’s YouTube channel!
Hulet Smith, OT
Co-founder/CEO of Rehabmart, Pediatric Occupational Therapist, husband, and father. Passionate about connecting special needs kids with superb nutrition, sensory integration, and complementary health strategies. Excited about Rehabmart's mission to become the premier online educational platform which empowers caregivers by spotlighting innovative devices and interventions to achieve optimal patient response and recovery.
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