Physical Therapy with Swimming Pool Handicap Lift

Pool Lifts

ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)

The Americans with Disabilites Act requires public accomodations to provide goods and services to people with disabilities on an equal basis with the rest of general public. The goal is to afford every individual the opportunity to benefit from our country's businesses and services, and to afford our businesses and services the opportunity to benefit from their patronage. In our case, the goal is to provide access to every swimming pool, so that people with disabilities will have a greater opportunity to enjoy the benefits of water-based activities.

ADA Law - Pool Lift
  • Who Must Comply With ADA Law?
  • Tax Incentives for Pool Lifts
  • ADA Accessibility Laws
  • Selecting a Swimming Pool Lift
  • Understanding the Safe Harbor Provision
  • California Builder's Code (CBC) vs. the ADA
  • Understanding the Pool Lift Clear Deck Space Requirement
  • Enhancing Aquatic Accessibility
  • Maintenance of Accessible Features
  • Means of Access for Swimming Pools
  • Pool Lifts for Physical Therapy Programs

    Swimming Pool Lifts for Physical Therapy Programs

    One of the potential challenges faced by aquatic therapy providers is how to get the patient into the pool. A patient with compromised mobility may have difficulty negotiating traditional methods of pool access, such as ladders or stairs.

    One possible way to facilitate pool entry is via a sloped entry or ramp. Although this works well for ambulatory patients, it is a challenge for the non- ambulatory. Additionally, sloped entries can be very expensive to install. A legal ramp must provide a 1:12 slope ratio; for every 1 foot of depth, there needs to be 12 feet of ramp. A ramp extending into a pool with a depth of 4 feet will need to be 48 feet long - not a realistic option for most therapy environments. Additionally, since the overall length of the ramp is in excess of 30 feet, the ramp must provide a landing that is a minimum of 5 feet in length. Depending on the type of sloped entry installation required, costs can range anywhere from $25,000 to $40,000.

    A simpler and more economical solution is to install a swimming pool lift. Pool lifts work on virtually any type of pool and can be used by almost anyone to gain access to the pool.

    Pool Lift Options
    There are several different kinds of swimming pool lifts available, providing facilities with options that fit a variety of programs and budget.

    Electronic Lifts
    Battery powered swimming pool lifts operate very much like hospital patient lifts. They use a 24 volt rechargeable battery to power an electronic actuator, which performs the lifting operation. Battery powered lifts can be completely portable, removable, or permanently installed. Removable lifts are mounted into a permanent deck anchor, but can be removed when not in use. Battery powered lifts feature rigid seats, can be independently operated, and meet all ADA guidelines for pool lifts.

    Water Powered Lifts
    Water powered lifts use the local water supply to perform the lifting operation. These lifts are connected to the water source by either a water hose or a supply pipe. They feature a rigid seat, which facilitates transfers, and can be operated independently by the user. Water powered lifts are permanently mounted to the pool deck and generally meet ADA accessibility guidelines for swimming pool lifts.

    Manual Lifts
    Manually operated pool lifts are the least expensive. The lifting mechanism on this type of lift is a hydraulic cylinder. This type of lift requires operator assistance, which prohibits its use in public facilities that are subject to ADA. These lifts typically include a sling for the seat and are mounted into the pool deck.

    Lift Considerations
    There are many factors to consider when selecting a pool lift. The most obvious is the location of your program.
    In hospitals and private clinics, space is often the most important consideration. Be sure that the area where the lift is installed has ample room for both transfers and wheelchair storage.
    Depending on the profile of your patients, weight capacity of the lift could be important. ADA guidelines mandate a 300 lb. lifting capacity. However, there are heavy duty lifts on the market that provide more lifting capacity if needed.
    Seating systems vary. Be sure that the seating system on the lift you select can accommodate the bulk of your patient population and can be adapted for patients who require special considerations.
    Pool lifts are available from a variety of distribution channels. Most Durable Medical Equipment (DME) dealers market these products in the health care space, while swimming pool equipment companies sell into the aquatic sector. Additionally, when purchacing a lift, find out about installation assistance (if required) and follow up service.

    For more information about pool lifts and ADA guidelines, contact the US Access Board, or visit their website:

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