1 year after the Gainsborough installation, key members of the care team and service users deliver positive feedback regarding bath performance

Robert Myers, Head of Care Pathways

We want the process of rehabilitation to be a pleasurable experience for our patients and a bath provides exactly that; it’s normalisation and yet a pleasure for the mind, body and soul that leaves a sense of well-being. It is so much more than just getting clean. When you invest in a brand new neurological centre like Marbrook and create an excellent team of therapeutic staff, then it’s really important that specialist equipment such as assistive baths are of the same high quality, working when and how you need them to.

It is fantastic to hear service users say how bathing can make them feel human again. Simply having the ability to stretch out and enjoy some “me time” is so therapeutic.

Neuro rehabilitation can involve a lot of physical exertion whether within the neuro gym and occupational therapy sessions or when learning to walk and cook again. Spending time in a high quality assistive bath, especially one with enjoyable spa features, can encourage true relaxation.

Project details

  • The Marbrook Centre, St Neots, Cambridgeshire
  • Architect: DWA Architects
  • Contractor: Lawrence Baker
  • Installation: 4 x fully accessible bathrooms

  • Products: 2 x Kent series 2 hi-lo baths with transfer seat/detachable transit chair + Chromotherapy and Air Spa 2 x Ascot hi-lo baths with transfer seat


Moving and Handling considerations are essential for us at Marbrook as our care team is a key asset – this is why we have invested with Gainsborough Specialist Bathrooms. We want to prevent any possible back injuries caused by the transfer of bathers in the bathroom. A bath from Gainsborough means bathing is a safe and pleasurable experience for both carer and service user.

David Whitten, Therapy Lead and Neuro Physiotherapist

I believe the Gainsborough baths play an important role in the rehabilitation therapy we provide for our clients. For clients who are unable to access a bath at home, the baths at Marbrook provide enjoyment and become a pleasing part of the daily routine. If a patient’s rehabilitation requires them to be here for a long period of time, then providing something that is enjoyable, such as bathing, helps to maintain engagement which is so important.

We have found that the provision of bathing works particularly well for individuals who have increased tone or spasticity. It is evident that tone reduces when patients are in warm water, whether in hydrotherapy or an assistive bath. This enables therapists to help patients stretch which in turn increases range of movement. So bathing is beneficial by reducing the tone that would normally hold a patient quite rigid and this in turn promotes relaxation.

Bathing can indeed provide positive clinical, mental-health and emotional well-being benefits. Bathing and stretching are very much part of the therapy programme for our long-term service users who have complex needs including high tone. The best feature of the Gainsborough Bath is its depth, allowing easier access and water coverage for people with varying contractures, than could be achieved with a normal bath.

The height-adjustable option on the Gainsborough bath means we do not place our carers at risk by compromising on health and safety or moving and handling procedures.

Not all Marbrook patients can access a bath chair and require the use of a bath hoist. The Gainsborough bath provides ample access underneath allowing our hoists to be positioned close enough for safe, secure patient lowering.

The latest, highly efficient Gentona bath provides variable height and a powered bather transfer seat for safe and controlled accessible bathing. This streamlined seat has been redesigned to improve usability, durability and infection control. There is also the option for it to be detachable and compatible with a stainless steel trolley that provides seamless transfers between toileting and bedroom areas. This can negate the need for ceiling track and mobile hoists in many situations.

Ideal for dementia care, the Gentona delivers a relaxing and engaging bathing experience and is available with sensory stimulating features such as Hydrotherapy, Chromatherapy and Bluetooth sound.

Rose Ware, Senior Occupational Therapist

I believe bathing is a wonderful therapy tool. We know patients benefit from hydrotherapy in terms of treatment and pain relief but they also become much more relaxed in water generally. Water promotes the feeling of weightlessness and for our patients with hi-tone or spasticity, it acts as a relaxant. Our users report they feel better having bathed. One of our less dependent patients tells us she enjoys the bath significantly.

Showering isn’t always a possibility for our high dependency patients and rather than a bed-bath or strip-wash, it is important at Marbrook that we can offer a positive alternative in bathing. I believe bathing is really good for our more dependant and complex patients. Quite often we find when people arrive at Marbrook, they have been unable to bathe for some time. This is particularly true when people come to us from an acute hospital trust where baths are rarely available.

The Gainsborough bath is far more advanced than the average domestic bath used elsewhere, providing real advantages for patients with higher dependency and needs as well as for their carers. For instance, as the bath has access on both sides, you can properly support a person with one-sided weakness which is crucial. The Gainsborough bath provides 360-degree access which is really important when caring for, and engaging with, a service user.

Carla Westley, Therapy Assistant

We always assess a patient’s suitability for using a bath. We need to make sure that service users will be secure in a chair lift or can be hoisted in safety. Once an assessment is completed, patients can have a bath when they want and for some, bathing is very much part of their personal therapy programme.

A bathing cycle on average takes about an hour which includes set-up, transfer and relaxation time. The service users in particular love Gainsborough’s Air Spa features. One patient who has high tone and is quite contracted in her muscles particularly enjoys this element of bathing and finds the whole process very relaxing.

As we use a lot of bathing equipment at Marbrook, it is important that everything is easy to use and uncomplicated. This helps make the whole bathing experience more pleasurable for both user and carer and an event that people look forward to.

Bathing is a relaxing form of rehabilitation therapy. We can really notice when a patient has had a bath as it lifts their mood and makes such a difference.

Chelsea Arlow, Rehab Coach

I provide daily living care for residents with a variety of conditions including brain injury, Stroke and MS, and a few patients are also paraplegic. One of my patients has a severe hypoxic brain injury which means she lives in a state of semi-consciousness and is unable to communicate. However, if we give her a shower, utilising a shower trolley, she really doesn’t like it.

On the other hand, when we place her in the bath, she smiles – which is lovely for her and us. This lady has been at Marbrook for nearly a year now and I believe being able to have frequent baths has been beneficial for her. Not only does she seems to enjoy them but having a bath benefits her muscles which are normally very tight. We have found the bath an ideal place to help her stretch out her arms and legs, and because she is relaxed and safely immersed in warm water, her muscles loosen up as a result.

Carla discusses rehabilitation and bathing benefits:

Ed Riches, Support Services Manager

I joined Marbrook following the installation of the four baths we have here, which are additions to our residents’ ensuite facilities. It is important that we offer flexibility and for those patients who have complex needs and cannot utilise the ensuite facilities, we need to have the four larger separate bathrooms.

We try to be flexible in our bathing regime. We realise with colder weather and darker wintry days, bathing can be very warming for our residents. Gainsborough visit us to service our baths and I cannot fault them during the warranty period. We have had a few small issues and the engineers have arrived quickly and got things done.

When a situation arises, Gainsborough are with us quickly and the engineers are professional and efficient. I can see the benefits of the Gainsborough baths. They are user-friendly and provide a pleasant bathing experience. The hi-lo function is a big health and safety benefit for our staff.

See Ed discuss the operational performance:

marbrook case study
marbrook case study
marbrook case study
marbrook case study