Grab Rails - Supply & fit

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Although primarily used in the bathroom and toilet, grab rails can be positioned anywhere in and around the home to provide support. Conveniently placed rails will provide help in four ways:

  • to push or pull against when standing up

  • to provide a steadying support while sitting down

  • to provide a firm grip when transferring from one position to another

  • for balance when standing, walking or dressing


Most are attached to the wall, although floor to ceiling rails are available. The type required will depend upon the situation and the hand or arm strength of the person. A combination of vertical and horizontal rails is often helpful.

Description

Before making any decisions about buying equipment, or making alterations, it is advisable to contact a community Occupational Therapist (OT), based at the local social services/social work department, who may come and assess your daily living needs.

He or she will advise on possible solutions and may be able to provide some items of equipment on loan. They may also give advice on grants that may be available to help with the cost of any adaptations.

It may be important that you have an individual assessment as there are many factors that can affect what is appropriate for you. For example, grab rails may not be appropriate if the wall is too far from the toilet or they may not be suitable for installing on the walls in your home. Thus you may wish to discuss your difficulties with a health care professional before considering purchase of this kind of equipment

Horizontal rails

These may help when pushing up from sitting and provide support when lowering, e.g. on to a toilet. Most people find it easier to push down on a rail rather than pull on one, so horizontal rails are more commonly used.

Inclined rails

Rails that are fixed at a slight angle to the horizontal may assist someone with weak or painful arms or wrists to support his/her forearm on the rail whilst pushing up, thus spreading the body weight over a larger area.

Vertical rails

These may assist when pulling up into a standing position.

Angled rails

For a person who needs a steadying support (e.g. to stand from a bathboard to shower), a rail can be placed at an angle of 45° up and away from the user. This keeps the wrist in a neutral position. It is not necessary to lean far forward to grasp the rail at the lower end, and the hand can travel up the rail to maintain the support once the person is standing.

Contact us if you would like an assessment or if you would like us to provide and/or fit grab rails