How to shower or wash someone in their own bed

Aquabuddy-Home | Shower in Bed | Assistive Technology

Please explain!

How to shower or wash someone in their own bed

People who are elderly or have a sickness or disability which severely limits their mobility are usually assisted to the bathroom, either with a walking aid or using a wheelchair or commode chair.  The other option at home, is a bed bath. There is an art and a definite skill to bathing someone in bed.  It needs a fair bit of organisation, is potentially very messy, and it’s better done with two people carrying out the activity. 

In a nursing home the use of shallow trolleys is common. They are designed for people with very high care needs and do require significant space in the shower area. This type of equipment is great in that environment - it enables the professional caregivers to transport residents from the bed to the shower, and back again, without any manual lifting, thereby reducing the risk of back injuries. It involves relatively simple transfers from the bed to the trolley, with two carers. For the home situation, these  mobile shower trolleys are too long and difficult (or impossible) to manoeuvre, in most cases.

As we’ve mentioned many times in our previous blogs and posts, most homes in Australia are simply not designed along “universal accessibility” lines.  Doorways and halls are often too narrow, bathrooms can be small, and shower cubicles have curbs and are often very small. And that’s just the least of accessibility problems!

But today we’ll just talk about a solution to the whole notion of transferring someone to the bathroom and all that entails.

When the time comes, that moving someone regularly to the bathroom for a shower is too upsetting or painful for the person in need of care, and actually too difficult for the carer/family, Gong Life Care Solutions has the answer!

Better than a bed bath! Better than a struggle to the shower

Aquabuddy-Home shower in bed system avoids all of these problems by bringing the bathroom to the bed, without any additional physical or psychological stress for either the person in need of care or the care-giver. 

Aquabuddy-Home is the only medical device that allows people with disabilities or mobility problems to have a full shower, have the perineal area cleaned, or have their hair washed, directly in bed. It is adaptable to any bed. Special, simple equipment is included to suit these purposes and make it quick and easy to carry out the process and prevent any mishaps with bed linen and water! 

See it in action! Watch a video featuring this product to learn more

A quality product

Aquabuddy-Home is now available in Australia as a viable option to moving someone to the bathroom or awkward washing in the bed.

The European Commission reported on the Aquabuddy system in its research results magazine , in an article entitled ‘No More Bath-time Anxiety for At-home Bedridden Patients’.  The sub-heading stated:

“A new miniaturised, portable shower system for use in bed is a ground-breaking solution to the problems of maintaining hygiene for independent living for those with restricted mobility”

They called it  “a new generation of home shower “

Our Aquabuddy system is classified as a medical device. It is made in Italy, and is certified by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and European Conformity (CE).  Gong Life Care Solutions is the sole Australian supplier for this system.

Caregivers’ view

Assisting elderly or frail persons to shower or bathe has been described by caregivers as one of the hardest caregiving  tasks of all.

 At the ATSA Independent Living Expo in Sydney last May, we had lots of comments from caregivers, such as:

- how much better it would be to use this (Aquabuddy) and not have to move

   someone to a bathroom

-  fabulous how it can be used with any type of bed

- a person would feel so much cleaner and nicer with this shower instead of

   just a bed-bath

- wow, no mess! It’s so clever

- very  hygienic how it works with the two water tanks

From the recipient’s point of view, bathing or showering may be positive or negative depending on their experiences.  Reasons for refusal of bathing or showering can include pain, fear, cold, embarrassment and loss of control. So if we can focus on reducing these factors we can create a more person-centred approach with less anxiety all round.     

Some tips for managing bath or shower time include:

- create a warm environment for the room

- play music, and/or try a sing-a-long with the person’s old favourites

- utilise aromatherapy, such as lavender, rosemary, peppermint or ylang-ylang essential oils

- try using sensory bridging techniques such as providing a favourite/familiar soap or shampoo to smell before engaging the person in the showering activity.

- and very importantly,  take care with privacy.  Keep the person's body covered as much and as often as possible leading up to and during the procedure. Even whilst showering in bed using the Aquabuddy-Home system, it’s nice to utilise extra towels/cloths to cover the person even though they will get wet. The feeling of privacy is very important.

 For further information on the amazing Aquabuddy-Home system, visit

See also our Relaxa Bathlift - a small motorised device designed for use in the home bathroom by people who are elderly and those who find that getting into and out of a bath has become increasingly more difficult.


  1. ‘No More Bath-time Anxiety for At-home Bedridden Patients’, July 2018, pdf version, Research *eu Results Magazine no. 74, p. 20. <>

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