Hinged grab bars can be a great safety addition to any bathroom space – but to explain exactly what they are and how they can be useful, it is essential to understand what a grab bar is first. Grab bars are a safety rail that gets fixed to the wall, allowing a user to lean on it, grab it for stability, or possibly use it to lift or lower themselves between seated and standing positions. These safety aids are often made of ABS plastic or stainless steel and come in a variety of finishes, lengths, and diameters to suit every individual’s needs.
View a complete range of ADA Compliant Grab Bars.
The most commonly found variations of Grab Bars For the Bathing and Toileting Area include:
- Straight Grab Bars
Straight grab bars come in a range of styles. The classic grab bar is a steel, concealed mount safety rail that can be installed onto the bathroom wall and is designed to support the full bodyweight of its user. It allows for the user to grab hold of it to offer stability while dressing or undressing or navigating the slippery tile surfaces. Variations of this style of grab bar are available, this includes LED light-up grab bars, grab bars with added functionalities such as towel racks or shelving, ABS plastic grab bars with added grip and night glow grab bars for extra visibility in low lighting. Most of these styles are also available in different lengths, finishes, and diameters.
- Angled Grab Bars
Angled grab bars are generally installed where a user will be moving between seated and standing positions, such as near the toilet or bathtub. These grab bars are designed with angles on them so that a user can hold onto something that is the right height while lifting and lowering themselves to and from the toilet or tub. These grab bars are available in a range of different angles to ensure that each user can find the right product to suit their space and needs.
- Hinged Grab Bars
Hinged grab bars provide the same security and support as other styles of grab bars, but have the added flexibility of being able to fold them away when not in use. This feature is great for users who may be sharing their bathroom with others who do not require extra support or users who have a small space that would be overrun by a traditional straight grab bar.
When to Use a Hinged Grab Bar?
Hinged grab bars are great for users who may not constantly need a safety aid in place. These bars can easily be folded away when not in use, so if a user shares a bathroom with non-vulnerable individuals, has an ongoing mobility issue that fluctuates, or doesn’t have a large bathroom with space for a traditional straight grab bar, a hinged grab bar is a great option.
What to Look For When Buying Hinged Grab Bars?
- Weight Capacity
The weight capacity of a hinged grab bar must be considered before purchase. If a user is intending to put their entire body weight onto the aid, they must be sure that it is designed to do so. Different lengths of hinged grab bars can support different weights, and of course, each individual has a different weight and a different set of needs. As a general rule of thumb, it is good to know the user’s weight, and their intended use of the grab bar to ensure that safety is maintained.
- Length of The Arm
The length of the arm refers to how far out from the wall the aid will extend. This could be dependent on a number of factors, including where the aid will be installed and what the intended use for the aid is. If the grab bar is to be installed next to the toilet, it may need to be quite long, whereas if it’s being installed in the shower, perhaps it needs to be shorted to fit within the walls.
- The diameter of the Arm
The diameter of the arm needs to be considered if the user struggles with grip in any way. If a user cannot comfortably hold onto the grab bar, then it will not be as safe as it is intended to be. If the diameter is too large or too small, the user may not find it comfortable to hold onto or could struggle to get a decent grip in order to support themselves. If possible, it is always best to allow the user to try the grab bar before installation.
- Installation Considerations
A majority of hinged grab bars must be screwed into the wall with a drill – which can be somewhat difficult to do by yourself. The installation of the grab bar is essential to ensure that the safety integrity of the aid is maintained. It is best to get professional guidance when attaching your aid to the wall. It’s also a good idea to ensure that the grab bar is in the right position to suit the needs of your user. Testing where the aid will sit in relation to the user each time they use it is important before making the commitment of attaching it to the wall.
- Type of Finish
The finish of a hinged grab bar, while possibly being purely an aesthetic decision to make, could also be an important safety feature. Some hinged grab bars are fitted with a textured section to grab for added stability and support. This could be particularly handy when considering the wet environment of a bathroom.
Other Toilet Aids You Can Consider
- Raised Toilet Seats
Raised toilet seats are an addition to the toilet that allows the user to be seated easier. This particular aid is great for users who may have mobility issues in their back or legs.
- Bidet Toilet Seats
Bidet toilet seats are a great way for users who may be mobility restricted to maintain their personal hygiene. They allow a user to clean themselves without putting their bodies in possibly compromising positions that could increase the risk of falling or hurting themselves.
- Bidet Sprayer
Bidet sprayers are another excellent way for users to maintain hygiene. These aids provide an extra level of flexibility by allowing the user to position the aid exactly where it needs to go to clean themselves adequately.
Author – Shirley Heard