Checklist for Used or Donated Bath Safety Equipment
Julie Horney MS, OTR/L
Here are a few considerations when obtaining used or donated bath safety equipment from either a retail or private source.
1. Determine if the item is being sold “As Is” or with the possibility of returning it for any reason. How long do you have to return the item? “You may have certain consumer rights when buying secondhand; for example, the seller must accurately describe the product they are selling; and you should be made fully aware of any faults or problems that need attention. If possible, obtain a written description of the product from the seller before you buy so that, should you find any faults, you can get your money back more easily.” (http://www.apparelyzed.com/disability-equipment/showerchairs-commodes.html)
2. Note that you must completely sanitize all surfaces before use, soaking it or immersing it where possible. Do not accept it if the item is already heavily soiled.
3. Plan to replace missing rubber footers, cracked rubber footers, or rubber footers of 2 different sizes/colors/materials. All footers must match those applied to the equipment when the item was purchased new.
4. Check that the item is level when placed on a flat surface. If there are adjustable legs, adjust the legs to see if they can be made level before using it. Does the adjustment mechanism still work? If you cannot make adjustments or if the item is not level when tested, pass on it.
5. Look to ensure that all screws, pegs, connectors and similar attachment devices are in place. Are there accessories? Are they easy to use or adjust? Replace the fittings that are missing with items that match the other connectors on the device.
6. Check the manufacturer’s weight rating to make sure it matches the weight rating of anyone in the home who might use the equipment (even if it is not the primary user). If the label is missing, look for the manufacturer’s label and check their website or call them. Do not exceed the rating of the equipment.
7. Check for cracks, uneven surfaces, tears, blistering or bubbling of the surfaces, rust, chipped paint, etc. Determine whether or not this can be completely restored to new condition before its first use and before accepting the equipment. Never accept cracks near a point of attachment (such as on a shower seat near where it attaches to the frame) or where it would come in contact with the user’s skin. On second thought, pass on anything that is cracked!
8. Try it out. Sit on it, wiggle on it (when safe to do so!), step on it (when designed for stepping on), move it around, look underneath it, lift it up, walk around it, collapse it then unfold it, etc.
9. Ask the person who used it before you, the person who is selling it, or donation source about the equipment. Who used it before you? Any idea if the user had an infectious disease? Where was it stored when not in use?
10. Do a sniff test! If it smells like motor oil then it was likely stored in a garage or shed and could continue to “outgas” a noxious odor in the enclosed confines of the user’s bathroom.
11. Know the price of a comparable piece of new piece of equipment BEFORE you go shopping for a used one. A higher price for a used item on Craig’s List doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a better one, even if the pictures look good!
12. “Prospective purchasers should satisfy themselves that the equipment being offered for sale meets current safety standards, and is the property of the seller, being free from Hire Purchase or Purchase Loan agreements etc.” (Same reference.)
You may share this Checklist in its entirety if you make reference to my full name as the author and this website: http://www.twostepsolutions.com Leave me a note below if you would like this information as a handout in Word or pdf formats.
Take care, Julie, O.T.
Photo credit goes to James Porzio of Home Safety Makeover