Occupational Therapy Advice and Information

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Problems with negotiating steps at the front door:Info Icon

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    • Assistance for people ascending/descending steps to enter their home can be solved by fitting either “D” grab rails or floor to wall handrails on one or both sides of the door, as seen on photo below.

    grab rails at front door

    • Rails can be fitted either side of the door; in the reveal of the doorway, if necessary. Take care not to obstruct any door locks. It is advisable to measure the desired height of the rail carefully so that your specific needs are met in relation to your height and reach as this will differ between Individuals.
    • As a general rule, the bottom fixing of a 45 cm long vertical rail may be positioned 79 cm above the internal floor (COT 2006).
    • Rails are readily available in lengths of 300 mm, 400 mm, 450 mm and 600 mm from builders’ merchants and ideally should have a diameter of 30-45 mm that stands clear of the wall by 45-65 mm.
    • When fitting external Handrails it is essential to fix the upper end of the handrail to Masonry due to the fact that there will be a greater need to pull up on the rail when negotiating steps or a higher threshold step. Where this is not available a floor-to-floor handrail must be considered as a more secure and safe option.
    • Fixing to UPVC frames should be avoided as there is unlikely to be internal steel framing in the right location to adequately support grab rail fixings.
    • Where it is unavoidable to fix onto a timber door frame always assess whether the frame structure is robust enough to carry a grab rail.
    • Where there is a difference in height between the internal floor level of the property and the external ground floor/street level of more than 36 cm then it is essential that you provide and fix floor to wall handrails as there will be a greater need to pull up on the rail in these circumstances. (COT 2006).

      Does this resolve your difficulties or do you have problems with managing the steps because they are too high or the treads too narrow?

    If the steps are too high Click ‘Yes’ link below.

    If the treads are too narrow Click ‘No’ link below

For more information of what is the best option for you, get in touch with us.