With falls in the home continuing to be the leading cause of major trauma in Ireland, putting preventative measures in place to safeguard those most at risk is vital. Within the home, the bathroom remains one of the most dangerous rooms for older adults and those with decreased mobility, due to the potential for slips, trips and falls. With this in mind, it is crucial to install assistive aides that will both promote their safety and encourage their independence, and a bathroom grab rail can help to achieve exactly this.
In this article, we explore why bathroom grab rails are a necessity in certain circumstances, along with the criteria to consider before choosing the best one for your needs.
Why should a grab rail be installed in a bathroom?
Before deciding on what bathroom grab rail to purchase, it’s important to first establish the reasons for installing them in the first place.
Safety and fall prevention
The bathroom can be a potentially hazardous area – particularly for older individuals with limited mobility and decreased balance – due to the presence of slippery surfaces. Grab rails provide a secure and stable support system, reducing the risk of falls and related injuries.
Grab rails enhance bathroom accessibility for individuals with mobility challenges caused by muscle weakness or conditions like arthritis. They can be strategically installed near toilets, showers, bathtubs and sinks to facilitate safe transfers and movements.
Post-surgery or rehabilitation
Grab rails are particularly valuable for individuals of any age who might be recovering from surgery or undergoing rehabilitation, and as a result, are experiencing temporary mobility limitations or balance issues. Having grab rails in the bathroom can significantly bolster the recovery process, promoting independence and reducing the risk of post-surgical complications or falls.
As individuals age, their physical abilities may decline further, making grab rails even more essential. By installing them early, older adults can ensure their bathroom remains a safe and accessible space as their needs evolve.
What type of bathroom grab rails are available?
Once the unique needs of the individual have been considered, it’s time to pick a grab rail option that will offer the most tailored assistance. Thankfully, there are several tried and trusted options to choose from.
Vertical grab rails
These are most commonly found at the shower entrance and on the wall next to the bathtub, to facilitate safe entry to and exit from the shower or tub. They can also be placed close to the toilet to offer extra support when getting up from the seated position.
Horizontal grab rails
These offer extra security when placed roughly at waist level in the shower, just above the rim of the bath and at about 700mm above floor level when used for toilet accessibility.
Textured grab rails
Textured grab rails provide an extra layer of protection thanks to their non-slip nature, offering a more comfortable and secure grip.
Flexible grab rails
Flexible grab rails are a great option for those with varying needs. They offer a variety of possibilities in terms of positioning and adjustability, making them ideal for both short and long-term use.
It’s important to note also that grab rails can either be securely wall-mounted for permanent use or attached using suction cups, which may suit those looking for a more temporary assistance solution.
Where should a bathroom grab rail be positioned?
Again, this comes down to the unique needs of the user. However, there are common areas of placement in most bathroom settings:
Shower or bath
The grab rails should span a sufficient length to provide a firm grip while entering, exiting, or manoeuvring within the shower or bath.
This grab rail is usually installed on the side closest to the toilet tank, at a height that allows the individual to easily reach it while sitting on or rising from the toilet.
Installing a grab rail near the sink can assist individuals with maintaining balance and stability while performing tasks like washing hands or brushing their teeth.
Entry and exit points
Grab rails placed next to the bathroom door can help with balance where the floor surface may transition from carpet to tile, or become slippery.
O Neill Healthcare – your trusted supplier of specialist fall management products
Offering a comprehensive range of solutions to support the needs of your elderly relatives and enable them to live at home for longer, we at O Neill Healthcare understand the importance of providing every tool necessary to enhance their safety and independence.
One such product we offer is the Etac Flex Grab Rail. With its secure grip and easy adjustment features, it is a remarkable solution that provides reliable support while incorporating a design that complements your home decor.
Don’t forget to also check out our blog, where you can find valuable information and insights on enhancing the safety and well-being of your loved ones