Q6: washing and bathing

This advice applies to Wales. See advice for See advice for England, See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland

What this question means

This question is about whether your condition makes it difficult for you to wash or bathe in a standard bath or shower that hasn’t been adapted in any way.

It’s also about whether you use any aids or appliances to help you wash or bathe.

Tick box question 6a

"Does your condition affect you washing and bathing?"

  • Yes

  • No

You should probably tick “Yes” if you use:

  • a grab rail

  • a hoist to help you get in and out of the bath

  • a shower seat

  • a long-handled sponge

  • anything else that helps you wash or bathe

You should probably tick "Yes" if you:

  • need someone to help you get in and out of the bath or shower

  • need someone to help you wash a specific area - for example, above your waist

  • wash too much - for example, if you have a condition like OCD

  • can’t tell whether you’ve cleaned yourself properly

You should also tick "Yes" if you need to use something or have someone to help you, but don’t at the moment.

Question 6b

"Tell us about the difficulties you have with washing and bathing and how you manage them."


It’s important you tell the DWP more by explaining your situation in the box.

It’s your chance to give the DWP a true picture of how your condition affects your ability to wash or bathe. They'll use this to decide if you get PIP.

You can also use this space to explain what help you need but don't get.

Worth knowing

If doing this activity causes problems with other activities on the PIP form, remember to write about your difficulties in the relevant question.

Aids you use

List the aids and appliances you use to help you wash or bathe, including things like grab rails and long-handled sponges. 

Never miss any aids off your list because you think it's obvious, and always:

  • explain how they help you

  • explain what would happen if you didn’t use them

  • make it clear whether a health professional advised you to use them

  • include any that your condition prevents you from using

Someone reminds, encourages, supervises or assists you

Make it clear if you need help but don’t get it.

If you do get help, say who helps you (for example, carer or friend) and explain:

  • why they help you

  • how they help, for example they might help you wash specific parts of your body

  • how often they help

Make it clear if you need them to:

  • remind you to wash or bathe

  • physically help you wash specific parts of your body (remember to say which parts, for example above the waist)

  • help all of the time or just sometimes or say if it's too difficult to predict

  • supervise you - for example to make sure you don't slip in the bath

  • be on hand in case of emergency - for example, if you wouldn’t be able to hear a fire alarm while bathing because you’re Deaf or have hearing loss

Always explain what happens (or would happen) if you don’t get help. For example:

  • you're more likely to have an accident or injury

  • you're more likely to experience physical or mental symptoms like pain, discomfort or tiredness

  • it's more likely to take you twice as long to wash or bathe as someone without your condition

Safety: accidents or risk of injury

Explain if you have ever:

  • slipped or fallen when getting in or out of the bath or shower

  • been unaware of danger, for example you don’t check the temperature of the water before getting in the bath or shower

  • had side effects from your medication that make you feel dizzy or drowsy and make it dangerous for you to wash or bathe

Make it clear if these problems happened because:

  • you didn’t get help or supervision

  • your have trouble concentrating

  • you get confused

You should also say if you think this could happen in the future. You should mention:

  • how often a risk happens, even if it doesn’t happen regularly

  • how badly you could be harmed

  • whether there’s anything you can do to prevent it happening

For example, you might have seizures that happen rarely but can start at any time with no warning. There's nothing you can do to prepare yourself and if one happened while you were bathing you could hurt yourself badly.  

Time it takes

Think about whether it takes you at least twice as long to wash or bathe as someone without your condition.

Try to explain how long it takes. It's ok to estimate but say if you are. If it's too hard to estimate explain why - for example, because your condition fluctuates.

Remember to:

  • include the time it takes to get in and out of the bath or shower

  • explain if it takes you even longer on a bad day

Good days and bad days

Explain how you cope on both good days and bad days and how you manage over a longer period of time (like a week). This gives the DWP a better picture of how you cope most of the time. 

Make it clear:

  • if you have good days and bad days

  • how often you have bad days

  • if you have bad days more often than not

  • how your difficulties and symptoms differ on good days and bad days

Symptoms like pain, breathlessness or tiredness

Explain whether the difficulties you have washing and bathing cause you any physical or mental symptoms (like pain, discomfort, breathlessness, tiredness or lack of motivation).  

It's helpful to explain the symptoms and give an example including:

  • how often you have them

  • how long they last

  • if they're likely to increase the risk of an accident

  • if they affect your ability to carry out any of the other activities on your PIP claim form

Example answer for PIP question 6


“I find it really hard to have a bath by myself. I feel really low for most of the week - usually around 5 days out of 7 - and don’t get out of bed on some of those days.

“My husband works so I am usually on my own during the day and it’s not safe for me to have a bath. I have to wait for him to be there.

“Once my mood was so low I ran a bath and didn’t think about checking the temperature of the water before I got in. It was boiling hot and I scalded my ankle and foot.

“Also my medication makes me feel dizzy so it would be dangerous for me to get in and out of the bath on my own. The last time I had a bath by myself I slipped and fell in and banged my head.”

Help with question 7: managing toilet needs

Back to Help Filling in your PIP Claim Form

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