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Plastic rails may be reinforced with a metal core. Wooden rails have metal brackets at each end for attachment to the wall. The finish of the rails may be important from an aesthetic point of view and also for the grip surface it provides. A polished or chrome finish is attractive and hard wearing but can be quite slippery to hold, especially when hands are wet. An epoxy, paint or plastic finish provides a warmer feel to rails, is hard wearing and will reduce the effects of condensation.

A choice of colour allows for a colour contrast with the wall for users with low vision or for co-ordination of bathroom accessories. A high contrast finish may be helpful if you have low vision - choose grab rails in a colour that contrasts with the wall it is to be installed on. A slip resistant, knurled, ribbed or fluted finish is a moulded, coated, textured surface which provides extra grip even when wet. This finish may be uncomfortable for those with sensitive hands. Although there is published guidance for the positioning of rails, you will also need to be guided by: There are a number of published documents which can help in the positioning of rails.

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These are intended to give generic guidance to property developers or housing associations, but the principles and advice may be useful as a starting point.

If you are installing grab rails into your current home, the ideal position for you will depend on your own unique needs, preferences, measurements and home environment: Planning documents for accessible and wheelchair user property - Approved Document M.

Volumes 1 and 2. Access to and use of buildings NBS , Other approved documents C and mostly K complete its guidance on steps, stairs or ramps and the most suitable handrails for them. This looks at the design of buildings and their ability to meet the requirements of disabled people. It looks at how some facilities, such as corridors, car parks and entrances, can be designed to provide aids for disabled people.

It also demonstrates how additional features, including ramps, signs, lifts and guard rails, can be installed. It gives technical specifications and examples of good practice.

In the bathroom Grab rails in a bathroom should have a ribbed or textured surface to give extra grip when wet. Horizontal and inclined rails When standing from a sitting position in the bath you may find it helpful to hold one horizontal wall-fixed grab rail placed above the bath with one hand and use the outer rim of the bath with the other hand to push against.

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  • There needs to be a mm clearance between the wall and all handrails. A rail can be fixed horizontally to the wall mm above the bath rim see dimension c in diagram. The horizontal rail can be used in combination with a bath board. The user may benefit from holding the rail while they sit on the board, then turn and lift their legs in and out of the bath. Vertical rails When stood in the bath - A rail at least mm long can be fixed vertically on the wall, mm from the tap end of the bath dimension b in above diagram , with its lower end mm above the bath rim COT p13, H M Government , p58, diagram This is most likely to be of use when stood in the bath perhaps whilst showering or when standing from a bathboard over the bath.

    Transferring into the bath - A rail which attaches to both the floor and the ceiling on the outer edge of the bath may provide support when the person is turning round to step in or out of the bath.

    It is recommended that it should be sited mm from the tap end of the bath where it can be reached from a sitting position in the bath. However, its position is likely to be in the way of someone using a bath board, or bath transfer bench, when they swing their legs in and out of the bath.

    These rails should be fitted by experienced installers, as they take a lot of weight and ceiling fixation can be complicated. Alternatively, if there are no obstructions outside the bath e. This is useful when stepping in and out of the bath and also to hold onto if standing to shower. The rail should be mounted at a height that the user can comfortably reach whilst stood both from outside the bath and from in the bath.

    They can be adjusted to the thickness of the bath sides and some models are adjustable in height. A vertical loop projects above the bath's sidewall and is held when stepping in and out of the bath. The fixings need to be checked on a regular basis and tightened when necessary. Side rails cannot be used in combination with a bath board or bath transfer bench, as they will get in the way when they swing their legs in and out of the bath.

    Bath-mounted - These only clamp onto the side of the bath and can be adjusted to the thickness of the bath sides.

    cot bed side rails argos Cot bed side rails argos

    Some models are adjustable in height. As with the floor-mounted bath side rails, a vertical loop projects above the sidewall. Again, they cannot be used in combination with a bath board or bath transfer bench. As these rails attach solely to the bath itself great care needs to be taken to ensure that the fixing mechanism - usually a screw system - remains secure. This needs to be checked on a regular basis and tightened when necessary.

    They are not recommended for attaching to a plastic or acrylic bath as there is a possibility that the surface may crack. If possible, rails should be both bath- and floor-fixed for full stability.

    When sitting in the bath, the rail will be directly in front of the person at about chest height. In this position it will provide stability whilst in the bath. The rail should only have downward pressure applied so the weight is taken by the bath rim, it is not designed for the user to pull on to sit down or stand up from the base of the bath Pain et al Ensure that the wall is strong enough to take the weight of this type of rail.

    Care should be taken that the user never bends down underneath the rail e. Taps are not designed to withstand a full body weight pulling against them. The rail should only have downward pressure applied so the weight is taken by the bath rim - it is not designed for the user to pull on to sit down or stand up from the base of the bath Pain et al, These rails fold down to rest on the bath rim and can be folded up against the wall when not required.

    Further guidance on equipment for use in the bathroom is available in the DLF factsheet Choosing equipment for bathing. However, they should be used only as a generic guide when the users are not known. When an individual user is known, personal factors such as the height of the person should be given priority.

    Horizontal rails Drop down or fixed rails attached either side of the shower seat can help to prevent somebody sliding off a wet slippery seat. A rail can be fixed on to the wall at the side of the shower seat, approximately mm above the height of any seat. This may be used for help when standing and may assist wheelchair users to transfer across onto the seat from a wheelchair H M Government , p54, diagram A drop down rail can be fixed on the rear wall, to drop down on the opposite side of the shower seat, with its top rail level with the wall-fixed rail.

    In shower cubicles it may be useful to have an additional horizontal rail fixed on the wall opposite the shower seat at a height of 1m from the ground, if it can be easily reached from the seat.

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    Vertical rails A vertical rail at least mm long can be fixed at the entrance to the shower compartment for use when stepping in and out of the cubicle. The rail should be mounted at a height that the user can comfortably reach whilst stood both from outside the cubicle and from in the cubicle.

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  • Vertical rails can be installed on a wall, if present, opposite a shower seat. The lowest fixing should be fixed mm above floor level. However, the distance between the front of the seat and the rail must be less than mm if it is to be used successfully.

    If it is too far away, there is a risk of falling forward. In the toilet As the options below illustrate, there are many different types of equipment available to assist in transferring on and off the toilet. It is important that you select the equipment that is safe and appropriate for you, which can be influenced by many factors - for example, some equipment may not fit if there are pipes running along the wall at the back of the toilet.

    Raised toilet seats vary in their maximum user weights and grab rails may not be appropriate if the wall is too far from the toilet. Grab rails by the toilet are often fixed to the wall alongside the toilet, but if this is not possible due to the toilet being too far from the wall or a partition wall or a radiator being in the way for example , then a drop down rail that extends from the wall behind the toilet could be used see below.

    Straight grab rails As a general guide there are two options for wall mounted rails by the toilet. If you have the same strength on both sides of your body it may be a good idea to have supports fixed on both sides of the toilet so that you can use both arms. The rail is fitted starting at a point approximately 25mm forward of your knee and approximately mm above your elbow when seated on the toilet with your arms down against your side , at an angle running at 45 degrees forwards and upwards away from you DLF This may help you to support the weight of your arm whilst pulling with your hand higher up the rail.

    An angled rail may be useful in this situation, to provide the same grip, but with support for the forearm. The angle of the rail would be sited at the same starting point as the straight rail, approximately 25mm forward of your knee and approximately mm above your elbow when seated on the toilet with your arms down against your side. Using a combination of two rails 1. A vertical rail for support when standing from the toilet this can provide a hold for pulling up from if you have strong upper limbs.

    The lowest point of the rail is sited approximately —mm in front of the knee while seated on the toilet approx mm in front of the edge of the toilet pan and 50—70mm above the inside of the elbow crease DLF Part M of the Building Regulations suggests that the rail should be at least mm long and can be fixed to the wall at a height of mm above the floor H M Government , p52, diagram If you place your hand where the rail would be, you can check that the position is correct for you, and that the rail is sufficiently far forward to maintain a stable position once standing.

    A mm long horizontal rail mm from the floor beside, and extending in front, of the toilet pan for use when sitting down on the toilet. This rail can be horizontal or set at an angle of up to 15 degrees H M Government , p52, diagram Check the distance between the toilet pan and the side wall. If you have to lean sideways to reach the rail, it may not provide appropriate support. In this case a drop down rail fitted to the back wall, a wall to floor rail or a toilet surround frame may be more appropriate DLF The measurements are a general guide only, the ideal location of the rails will depend on your individual size, reach and toilet location.

    If you wish to use the toilet standing, then a vertical rail placed just in front of your knuckles when your arm is held at a right angle may steady you.

    Drop down rails can be used where there is no adjoining wall next to the toilet. A vertical rail in this position can also be useful to steady yourself as you manage your clothes. Drop down hinged rails These rails are useful when there is no suitable wall on which a standard grab rail can be fixed, or where space is a problem. In areas where there is a wall on only one side of the toilet, they can be used in combination with a fixed rail to provide support on both sides, but can be folded up out of the way to allow access for a wheelchair user or helper.

    They may be wall-mounted at the back of the toilet or floor fixed if the supporting wall is not strong enough. These provide a horizontal bar in their lowered position. Some hinged wall-mounted rails can be supplied with a support leg which rests down on the floor when the rail is horizontal, transferring some of the load from the wall to the floor.

    Comment

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