Using Grab Rails in the Bathroom

Grab rails are useful to both elderly people and those with disabilities. Most commonly used for support at entrance steps, stabilization when standing up and sitting down, support in the bathroom when going to the toilet or having a shower or bath, and general balance when performing activities such as getting dressed, grab rails are an essential aid to anyone with mobility or balance problems.


Certain areas of the home are more problematic when it comes to mobility and balance – the bathroom, more specifically the toilet, is one such area that requires additional support. 

Grab rails for the toilet are often fixed to the wall alongside the toilet. However, if there is not a wall close enough to the toilet, a dropdown rail can be extended from the wall behind the toilet. There are a number of railing components that can be used to build a custom railing where the standard grab rails do not fit. One can choose whether to put in only one supportive rail or a rail on each side of the toilet.  Having two rails simply provides extra support as both arms can be used.  Positioning of grab rails is important in order to provide the necessary support for specific tasks. Exact placements can vary however depending on each person’s personal preferences and home environment, as well as bathroom design. 

One can choose to put in an angled rail, starting about 2-5cm forward from your knee and about 5-7cm above the crease of your elbow (while sitting) and moving up and away from you at a 45degree angle. This is useful for pulling oneself up with, and beneficial as it is not necessary to lean forward to be able to hold the lower end of the rail. 

One can also put the rail in horizontally, starting beside and extending in front of the toilet pan at a height of about 68cm from the floor. This is useful to hold for support when sitting down as well as to push down on when standing up.

An inclined rail is a combination of a horizontal and angled rail and can be used for multiple purposes.  This allows one to choose whether they pull themselves up, push themselves up, or use the rail as support to lower themselves onto the toilet.