How To’s

Features and Benefits of the Wave Bathing System

For people with significant support needs, bathing is essential to health and hygiene. However, transfer difficulties and the lack of appropriate supportive equipment often make it one of the most difficult tasks for families and caregivers.

If you care for someone who needs help with transfer and you don't have an accessible shower, your options for bathing aren't great – either bathroom renovation or a bulky installation that takes up half the bathroom. Even worse, you’re putting your back at risk with every tub transfer. Current literature suggests that no caregiver should lift more than 35 pounds of a patient’s weight in ideal conditions, 1 but caregivers routinely lift more than this to perform hygiene care, often on wet and slippery floors.  

rifton wave adaptive bathing system

One study looking at the use of assistive devices, environmental modifications and every day activities in 95 children with cerebral palsy noted that most parents reported the “need of a more appropriate aid” when describing their child’s toileting or bathing equipment.2 Another study found that many parents discontinued their child’s toileting routines because lifting under these conditions was too strenuous3  – lifting into a bathtub or shower would be no different.  Irregular bathing because of lifting issues and lack of appropriate adaptive equipment  increases the risk of urinary tract infection and skin breakdown, and ultimately drives up overall medical costs.

Finding a bathing and transfer system that meets the transfer and hygiene needs of individuals with significant involvement is vital, and the Rifton Wave meets this need.  It offers support and adjustment options for the head, trunk, hips and legs while still allowing enough freedom of movement for the client to participate in the bathing process.

The most ground-breaking component of the Wave is its compact tub transfer base. This ingeniously simple design makes over-the-tub bathing easy for everyone. And when it's not in use you can fold it up and hang it on the wall. 

Features of the Wave Bathing System

Angle adjustments- backrest, seat and calf rest
  • The backrest, seat and calf rest of the Wave have incremental angle adjustments enabling caregivers to provide postural support with appropriate hip and knee flexion to reduce spastic extensor tone, promote relaxation, and improve tolerance for the seated position during bathing.
  • The Wave adjusts from sitting to reclining and can be used in environments outside the bathroom as a supportive seating system.
wave bathing system wave bathing system angle

  • The Wave has soft polyester knit fabric with generous padding that is removable and washable. This fabric accommodates physical deformities and protects skin integrity. It is porous to enable effective bathing and water drainage.
 rifton wave bath chair fabric

Wide seat
  • The Wave’s seat is  capacious with open sides for comfort and easier transfers. Weight-bearing surfaces are covered with padded polyester knit fabric to reduce the  chance of adverse pressure or skin breakdown during longer bathing sessions.
  • The open design and adjustments for growth help to accommodate growing children.
 rifton wave bath chair seat

Accessory support options
 rifton wave accesories

Three base options
  • Any size of Wave bath chair will fit on any base. This reduces the costs of upsizing the chair for a growing child.

1. The tub stand rests securely on the bathtub floor or raises the bath chair to a comfortable height for the caregiver - either 5 ½" or 11 ½" from the tub floor.

 adaptive bathing equipment tub stand

2. The shower stand has 4” locking casters for rolling the bath chair into a shower stall.

 adaptive bathing equipment shower base

3. The tub transfer base has height adjustable legs, (up to 19" high) to fit over the outer side of the bath tub and match the seat height of a wheelchair. The individual moves from the wheelchair to the Wave bath chair on the tub transfer base. The transfer base rotates the bath chair over the tub and bathing can begin. No other bathing system has anything like it.

rifton wave tub transfer step 1 rifton wave tub transfer step 2 rifton wave tub transfer step 3

  • The Wave bath seat and the tub transfer base fold for easy storage.
rifton wave storage adaptive bathing equipment storage

Medical Necessity of the Wave Bathing System

The features, support options and accessories of the Rifton Wave directly address the areas of stability, comfort and good positioning that are medically necessary for essential daily cleaning and hygiene management. This device will allow an individual to consistently follow necessary hygiene routine as prescribed by physician to address incontinence and/or integumentary issues.

See Rifton’s Sample Letter of Medical Necessity for the Rifton Wave.


  1. Waters TR. When is it safe to manually lift a patient? Am J Nurs. 2007; 107(8):53-58.
  2. Ostensjo S, Carlberg EB, Vollestad NK. The use and impact of assistive devices and other environmental modifications on everyday activities and care in young children with cerebral palsy. Disabil Rehabil. 2005; 27(14): 849-61
  3. Pivato E. Breaching the last frontier: Dignity and the toileting issue for persons with multiple and severe disabilities. Developmental Disabilities Bulletin. 2009; 37(1): 153-64.
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