Weighing the Cost of Grab Bar Failure
The need to avoid grab bar failure in the bath tub is important. As we age, we start to loose muscular strength and have higher occurrences of health issues requiring medications. Our reactions can slow and our vision may weaken. All of these factors can affect our balance and therefore become potential “risk factors”.
These risk factors may be improved by your doctor. A medical evaluation can indicate the need for a change, such as vision correction or different medications, which could result in improved balance. Seeing your doctor regularly is the first step in fall prevention.
A home evaluation is also an important step. Addressing any hazards around the home will reduce the opportunity for falls. An Occupational Therapist can make assessments of a person’s abilities and the environmental risks in the home. Such an evaluation will almost always suggest installing grab bars in the bathroom. With proper installation, you can prevent grab bar failure.
A grab bar will give a person a dependable hand-hold for balance assistance. There are many types and sizes available in the market today. You may be wondering which one to choose. There are several aspects of acquiring and using a grab bar that will affect your choice.
- How does it install?
- What does it install to?
- Where exactly does it go?
- How much does it cost?
- How is its appearance?
- Is it permanent or removable?
- Is it dependable?
Answering these questions will help you make an informed choice, but the one I want to bring to your attention is – ” dependability.”
Grab bar failure can happen when the installation method fails and the bar releases from the wall. If the patient is depending on the bar, and it fails, the patient will most likely fall. In this case, the grab bar has become the instigator of risk, instead of providing a safe solution.
A Closer Look from CDC.
”Hip fractures are serious fall injuries that often result in long-term functional impairment, nursing home admission and increased mortality. Treatment typically includes surgery and hospitalization, usually for about one week, and is frequently followed by admission to a nursing home and extensive rehabilitation. There is potential for complications following a hip fracture. One out of five hip fracture patients dies within a year of their injury. More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling, most often by falling sideways onto the hip”. – Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Read More from CDC
Grab bar failure can put the user at extreme risk. To avoid this risk, great care needs to be taken by the installer. If you are intending to install the grab bars yourself, make sure to read and understand the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
You must be completely confident in your installation. One fall can greatly reduce the quality of life for your loved one. The risk of grab bar failure is just not worth it. If you’re uncertain, you should hire a professional. The cost of hiring a professional is much cheaper than the results of a grab bar failure.
In your bathtub or shower, the grab bars should provide extra security for that first slippery step.
Here is an installation guide with photos from WikiHow.
If you’re a caregiver of an elderly parent, I’m sure your days are quite busy. There’s no need to increase you work load or risk a serious accident. May sure your grab bars are solid and dependable. Don’t settle for anything less.
Your thoughts are welcome.