by Sean O'Sullivan from The Pool Lift Company
We all know that the tranquillity of a spa instantly makes you feel more relaxed and that the health benefits are endless; which is why it is so important that those who are elderly, disabled or recovering from injury have access to these facilities. Ideally spas should have treatment rooms with wide doors for wheelchairs, hydraulic beds which are easy to lower and raise, fully equipped disabled changing rooms, facilities on one level and step free access to swimming pools and hot tubs.
Whilst a new build can easily achieve a fully accessible spa and depending on budget install innovative solutions such as moveable pool floors, many spas have physical barriers like steps or a difference in floor levels to overcome. The layout or fabric of the building may also present a challenge when making modifications to improve accessibility.
However, in most cases a platform lift or a ramp can be easily installed without affecting the integrity of the building, landscape or environment. There are also a huge range of materials available to complement or blend in both modern and traditional surroundings or can even match a brand. When it comes to the pool side or a hot tub, a pool lift could present a very simple solution to create step free access without making any major structural changes.
A modern-day pool lift, or pool hoist as they are also commonly known, provides a dignified access solution for anyone who might have difficulty using steps into a swimming pool. If the pool, hot tub or jacuzzi is fully in the ground then spas have the option of either a portable or fixed lift. The advantages of a portable lift are that it can easily be stored away if space is an issue, and it can transport users from the changing room area to the poolside.
There are several portable pool lift products on the market which vary in cost and have added features like operating controls allowing users to be fully independent. There are also models which can navigate tighter bends which is ideal for smaller spaces that have been adapted to accommodate spa facilities.
However, if the swimming pool, hot tub or jacuzzi is walled or partially above ground, then a fixed pool lift or hoist is the only option. Most fixed pool lifts have a battery assisted lift and lower function but there are manually operated products which suit lower budgets. Some fixed pool lifts also come with waterproof controls giving the person complete autonomy getting in and out of the water.
For spas which are thinking of installing a fixed pool lift then it is important to consider just how far the lift needs to go to get someone into the water safely and how high it will need to raise up to clear any walls or curbs. It is also good to be aware of ceiling heights if indoors, as even if a lift looks like it is not tall, once it is raised all the way up, it may extend beyond a typical 8-foot-high ceiling. Most pool lift providers will offer an access survey as it is important to specify the right product according the facilities. It is also recommended that the product is serviced at least once a year.
With an array of products now available on the market spas have a much better choice especially when it comes to design. Modern day pool lifts are no longer clunky and utilitarian, they look stylish and feature state of the art technology. They also offer the user a much more comfortable experience from a physical and emotional prospective as the operation is smoother and slicker than ever.
The therapeutic benefits of swimming and thermal water features are so great that it should be made available to all, not only does it help with alleviating stress but also aches and pains. So, along with widening doors for wheelchairs, installing ramps and lifts between floors, and creating disabled friendly changing rooms, a pool lift should be an essential part of creating a fully accessible spa. Having these solutions in place opens the spa industry to everyone which means no one is left disappointed when they reach the poolside.