When you or your direct family member suffers a spinal cord injury, home adaptations will probably be necessary. We have assembled a series of guidelines on how to make your home as accessible as possible.

Entrance and Exit

  • 36″ to 48″ wide pathways
  • 32″ to 36″ high hand rails that extend 1’ beyond ramp
  • Slip resistant surface (non-slip strips, indoor/outdoor carpeting, sand paint, etc.)
  • Covering for inclement weather
  • Ramp materials: wood, concrete, expanded aluminum
  • 12″ of ramp for every 1” of vertical rise
  • 36″ wide (more if entering from an angle)

Interior/General Living Space

Doorways

  • 30″ to 36″ distance between frames is optimal.
  • 28″ with some manual wheelchairs is sufficient

Door Handle

  • 36″ from floor
  • Levers preferred over knobs

Thresholds

  • Use threshold ramp, bevel, or recess

Hallways

  • 36″ to 48″ wide

Floors

  • Hardwood or tile preferred

Bedroom

Bed

  • Firm mattress – 22″ from floor optimal for transfer from chair
  • Pillow – depends. Read this guide on finding the right pillow.
  • 3′ to transfer on side

Bathroom

Toilet

  • 16″ or less from floor if commode or shower chair is used over the toilet
  • 17″ to 18″ high if pivoting to transfer to toilet
  • 2′ to 3′ of space on one side for independent or assisted transfer

Sink

  • 34″ or less from floor; open underneath with insulated pipes is optimal
  • Lowered, tilted mirror

Bathtub

  • 2′ of transfer space on side for transfer/bench
  • Reinforced walls for grab bars (should be able to withstand 300 pounds of pressure in any direction)
  • Hand held shower
  • Grab bars should be 2′ to 2.5′ long and 32″ to 36″ high

Roll in Shower

  • 5′ x 5′ optimal space
  • 1/2″ or less threshold
  • Grab bars on showerhead wall and adjacent wall 30” to 32” from the floor
  • Soap dish 30″ to 36″ from floor
  • Hand held shower adapter, can convert to standard showerhead with diverter button
  • Antiscald device so temperature does not exceed 120 degrees; protects sensory impaired skin from burns

Kitchen

Countertops

  • 30″ to 33″ from floor optimal height
  • 27″ to 29″ knee clearance optimal

Sink

  • 34″ or less from floor
  • Insulated pipes beneath underside of sink

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