Grab rails are made in different lengths and shapes to suit the needs of the person. The best one to choose is dependent on how the person will use it.
Which rail is right for you?
Some people prefer to push up from chairs or sofas to stand up while others prefer to pull on the table or nearby walking frame. The way the person prefers to stand determines the position of the rail on the wall. For example, someone who likes to push up from something will do better if the rail is placed horizontally on the wall at a height which allows them to get enough leverage.
What to check before you buy a rail?
When buying a rail ensure to check for:
- The manufacturers weight limit; this will ensure the grab bar is safe to take your weight (unlike a towel rail, a grab rail is sturdy enough to take a good amount of weight through it!!)
- The type of wall you have in your home. If it is a brick wall then you will have a lot of control over where to put the rail. If it is a stud wall you need to check where the studs are located to determine the length of the rail you buy (see about installing a rail here)
It is highly recommended you consult an Occupational Therapist to determine the most suitable type of rail for the person, their functional needs and their environment.
So what are the options?
These are rails which run in one direction only and can be fixed to the wall. They usually come in metal or plastic at lengths of 30cm, 45 cm, 60cm, 75cm and 90cm. They can be place vertically, horizontally or diagonally.
Angled rails are also mounted onto a wall. These are good as they allow both a vertical (up/down) and horizontal (across) support if you have painful wrists (i.e. want to use your forearm to push up) or use if you need to negotiate around fixtures which may already be on your wall e.g. toilet roll holder, plug sockets.
Floor to ceiling rails
These are vertical (up/down) rails which attach to both the floor and the ceiling. They can be used to help getting in and out of a bath or to pull up into standing from a low height e.g. the toilet.
Drop down rails
These type of rails are fixed to the wall and then fold down to give a horizontal support to push up from. They are either straight rails or looped rails. You may have seen these in the public disabled bathrooms.
If you have trouble getting in and out of the bath then you can opt for a clamp on bath rail. This will give support and stability while you step in and out of the bath.