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A Guide to Toilet Frames and Rails

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A Guide to Toilet Frames and Rails
The following is a brief and basic guide to the types of product that are available to help people who may need extra support when using the toilet. However, it is important to remember that every individual's needs are different. Customers should therefore base their purchasing decisions on the user's particular needs and preferences and, where appropriate, upon advice from medical and care professionals.

What is a Toilet Frame?

A toilet frame is an aid to sitting and standing that fits onto or around a toilet. Typically made from coated metal, it should be strong enough to take the user's weight and it may be used to provide extra stability when using the toilet itself. Toilet Frames may be free-standing or fixed permanently to the floor, and they may be supplied with or without an in-built toilet seat. They offer support on both sides of the toilet and are similar in most respects to toilet surround rails.

What is a Toilet Support Rail?

A toilet support rail is designed to provide support when the user is sitting down or rising from the toilet. In most cases, a toilet support rail will be placed on just one side of the toilet rather than both, although support rails with two arms are also available. They may be fixed to a wall, to the floor or to both, depending on the physical properties of the room, and they are often able to fold up, out of the way, when not required.

One-sided or Two?

If the user suffers from weak, stiff or aching joints, which might often be associated with conditions such as arthritis or injury, then it might be sensible to choose a product that supports the user on both sides. Likewise, double-sided support is a wiser choice if the user experiences difficulty with balance. However, a one-sided support rail might be more useful if the user is noticeably stronger on one side or has the use of only one arm, or if the user often uses a wheelchair - in which case, a double-sided support might interfere with transfers.

Temporary or Permanent?

If the user shares a house with others or if he or she receives frequent visitors, then it may be useful if the support can temporarily be removed so as to allow other people to use the toilet. In this case, a free-standing toilet surround frame with non-slip rubber ferrules might be a good buy, or a toilet rail that folds neatly away against a wall. Conversely, if the user normally lives alone, or if it is important to maximise safety by minimising the risk of falls, then a permanently fixed system would probably be more appropriate.

Wall or Floor-Mounted?

Wall mounted rails tend to occupy the least space when not required but wall-mounting is sometimes impractical because the wall itself is not sufficiently strong. A light stud partition wall, for example, will not normally take the loads that may need to be placed on it. Consequently, it might often better to choose a floor-mounted system that can be screwed down into timber or concrete.

Other Considerations

For maximum comfort and safety, it is important that the support is at the right height for the user, so a height adjustable model might be worth considering. Extra wide and width-adjustable products are likewise available. Hygiene is also very important so look for a system that is easy to keep clean and free from unnecessary joints and gaps. Bear in mind that padded arms may be more comfortable and may feel warmer in cold conditions but they might also be more difficult for small or weakened hands to grip.

Click to view our Toileting Aids department

Some of our popular toilet frames and supports:

Complete Care Shop, a trading name of Nottingham Rehab Limited, seeks to ensure that the contents are accurate but visitors should be aware that every individual's needs are different. Customers should therefore base their purchasing decisions and other actions upon the user's particular needs and preferences and, where appropriate, upon advice from medical and care professionals. Please click to see our disclaimer.
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