Occupational Therapy Advice and Information
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Drop down Rails and Toilet frames:
If a grab rail cannot be fitted, due to the nature of the walls next to the toilet, then a drop down rail could be considered and, if possible, fitted on the wall behind the toilet to run parallel to the toilet on either one or both sides of the toilet. Other options to the drop down rail are floor mounted rails to one or both sides of the toilet and free standing or floor fixed toilet frames.
A toilet frame can be placed around a toilet and provides you with a hand-held armrest on either side. Toilet frames have armrests that can be adjusted in height to ensure that your ability to push down or pull up using the frame is maximised.
Toilet frames are fitted around the front and sides of the existing toilet and, for extra stability, can be floor fixed. Floor fixed Toilet frames will prevent the frame from tipping if You have to lean heavily upon it to either sit or stand from the toilet. Floor fixed Toilet Frames are especially useful if you only have use of one arm or have balance problems and would use the frame to steady yourself when standing or sitting on the toilet.
Toilet frames may be considered quite obtrusive and although they may be easily removed (unless fixed to the floor) they are quite bulky to store when not in use. Any type of Toilet Frame cannot be used if there are any obstacles around the existing toilet such as pipework, a close fitting radiator or towel rail because there will either be insufficient room or the frame will be unstable.
It is also possible to purchase extra wide frames or width adjustable frames for Bariatric (larger and heavier) Users that have an increased maximum weight limit of up to 40 stone and 30 stone respectively. Standard frames usually have a weight limit of up to 30 stone.
If you have to reach sideways then a grab rail is probably not suitable and a drop down rail may be a better option.
Drop down rails can be floor or wall mounted and folds down by the side of the toilet, with or without a supporting leg. A supporting leg provides a more secure footing for those Users who lean heavily on the rail because they allow more evenly distributed weight across the rail.
It is also possible for the integral armrests to be provided with no toilet seat raise, which will assist if your problem is unsteadiness when sitting or standing from the toilet and it is not possible to fix grab rails on the wall or there is insufficient room to fit a frame around the toilet.
The ideal location of rails/frames will depend on your particular circumstances: your size, your ability to reach and also the location of the toilet. Therefore it is advisable to seek the advice of an Occupational Therapist who will be able to assess your specific needs.
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