Bathchair Transfer System for Adult with Cerebral Palsy

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Bathchair Transfer System for Adult with Cerebral Palsy

Designers: Jeremiah Haswell, Tania Ortiz-Fonseca, John Skates
Client Coordinator: Dr. Bharat Soni, Chair, Department of Mechanical Engineering


The Client Coordinator requested a mobile shower chair/bath lift for his son who has severe Cerebral Palsy (CP).  The lift was to be used by the caregiver to assist in moving and bathing the adult, which has CP.  At the time, the caregiver was forced to lift and lower the person in and out of the bathtub.  This placed great strain on the caregiver’s back.  The purpose of this shower chair/bath lift was to move the person from the bed to the bathroom, lower him into the bathtub and then to raise him to the edge of the bathtub and transport him back to the bed to reduce the bending stresses on the caregiver’s back.

The design constraints were the following:
1. To lift and lower the adult weighing one hundred to one hundred twenty pounds and measuring five feet, six inches to a height or depth of thirteen inches.
2. Be made of materials and systems compatible with a bathing environment.  Any materials or systems making up the device will not corrode, degrade, malfunction, or exhibit any other changes in the presence of water.
3. Not present a safety hazard for the adult or the caregiver.  There should be no risk of drowning as a result of using the device.  The adult should remain in the device until intentionally removed by the caregiver.  There should be no sharp or rough surface, corners, or edges on the device that might cut or otherwise abrade the skin of either the adult or the caregiver.  Clearances should be such that none of the adult’s body could be caught between the bathtub and the device during normal operation.
4. Cost less than $1500 to research and produce.



Many caregivers of people with cerebral palsy or other similar muscle control problems suffer from back pain as a result of regularly lifting a heavy adult from a bed and into and out of a bathtub.  The device has helped the caregiver in moving and bathing the adult.  This removes the need for the caregiver to lift and lower him in and out of the bathtub, relieving the strain on the caregiver’s back.



A large shower chair was purchased from Flaghouse (Hasbrook Hts., NJ).  The chair was made of PVC tubing with a blue mesh set on a PVC frame.  This chair was mounted onto a rolling cart made of extruded aluminum provided by Parker Hannifin Corp.  There were no welds on the cart; aluminum corner brackets with stainless steel bolts were used for the connections to provide stability and strength.

A pneumatic lift was designed to lift a maximum load of two hundred pounds.  The lift was made of a rectangular frame, two cross bars, and a pneumatic cylinder, which is mounted onto the bottom of the frame and connects to a center bar.  The system is shown in Figure 2.  Total cost = $858.

15 - bathchair transfer system

Figure 2.  Bath chair transfer system for adult with CP