WEIRD BATHTUB PROBLEM...PLEASE HELP

Well, I thought I had seen it all, but I was proven wrong again. I get a job to go out and remodel a bathroom for a poor person under a county program. The house is ~40 years old, and looks like someone built it who (a) had no idea how to build and (b) had no money to build so all the materials were salvaged from somewhere. I go to see the bathroom and I am immediately confused by the size. It is 52 inches wide (wall to wall) by 84 inches deep. The bathtub, which I have been asked to replace, is 52 inches by 24 inches. Where they found this bad boy I will never know but I suspect it may been salvaged from an old mobile home. It is cast iron, and has no overflow drain on top, and is 11 inches deep, from the top of the tub wall to the bottom.
My first thought was to replace it with a shower. Demo what is there, drop in a pan, some new Moen fixtures, some nice marble walls, and I'm a hero, right? Nope. Unfortunately, she needs a tub. She has had two accidents, one that broke her neck, she has two fused vertabraes, is in constant pain and wants to soak in a bathtub. The current tub is too shallow and she has had it overflow beaucoup times. Obviously, I am not going to stroll into the Depot and pick up a replacement 52 inch tub. I think my best choice, bad as it is, is to replace the tub with a custom tile tub. I can add an overflow, do a nice job and everyone is happy. Except me, of course, when the tile tub leaks. I thought of a Japanese Soaking Tub (too expensive for the county). Does anyone have any experience doing tile tubs or does anyone have any better idea for me?
At this point, believe me, I am all ears.
Tim
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"T. C. Conde" wrote...

You won't have much room left for the sink and w.c. but what about putting the tub running in the other direction? Is it feasible to move one of the long walls out about 8"?
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Would a corner tub like a Kohler K821 work? I'm not sure how much plumbing you can do under your contract. T
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They do make tubs that are smaller than baths, that have a front door that shuts like a submarine hatch. the person sits on the seat in water and can bath. the tub comes with a shower head also. It is small and very convenient for those who have trouble with tubs..... jloomis

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These should be available as they are a standard in mobile homes.
Here is an internet site: <http://www.randgsupply.com/Warehouse/Tubshower/standard/2754LRbathtubs.htm#Composed_
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Well, 54" is a readily available tub size at a plumbing supply, although certainly a special order at a home center. In fact, the 'real' plumbing house near me has 48" tubs they can order. Could it be a 54" tub tucked in there? Could you replace some studs with 2x3's to get a 54" in place?
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T. C. Conde wrote:

Don't know about the program's limits obviously, but this would seem to be a case where there may be relief from medical need and at least an attempt to explore and find out if could get a side-opening tub would be the way to go. This person's condition is only going to deteriorate in all likelihood and a standard tub design for the situation is only an accident waiting to happen...
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A couple of off the wall suggestions: Rubbermaid stock tank for a tub (fitted with an overflow and drain) + bath lift like an Aquatec? or even a Hoyer lift?
Accessible tubs? http://www.abledata.com/abledata.cfm?pageid 327&top1368 http://www.premier-bathrooms.com / walk_in_bath.php?sourcewords&gclid=CKLJwNCk_Y4CFQqZggodO2QI4A
Shower with bench & 2 drains -- one leading to a tank with recirculator pump and heater to feed several shower nozzles, and a drain to the wasteline when the shower is done? (some people find the force of the shower more relaxing to muscles than passive soaking)
Might want to poke around here: http://www.abledata.com/
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Perhaps have the old bath restored?
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Did you consider keeping the same tub and have it reglazed? (BTW, it probably came from a Sears catalog from the 1940's. One of our bathrooms here in our old office, that has an identical layout. Tub came from Sears in the 40's (or so I was told).

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