3 Places to Put a Floor to Ceiling Security Pole for the Elderly

A security pole is helpful for individuals after surgery, acute illness, physical injury or those with chronic health conditions that affect their strength, balance and endurance. This home safety equipment is especially helpful for frail elderly that are more prone to falls and deconditioning following a hospital stay.

Floor to ceiling security poles for the elderly are usually found in these three places within the home:

  1. Bathroom – useful for safely getting in or out of the bathtub or shower.

Bathing and showering is an activity that can be challenging for some individuals, particularly those that are recovering from surgery, have a recent hospital stay or any significant disability. 

transfer-pole

These individuals may benefit from having a pole to grab onto for support with stepping into or out of the shower or bathtub. With a security pole, a grab handle can be within reach to steady someone while they are standing to have a shower, or be used for help with standing up from a shower stool.

Furthermore, the pole can be positioned near the toilet to help with slowly sitting down or standing up from the toilet seat.

  1. Bedroom – great for repositioning one’s body within bed and using it for support to lift oneself out of bed.

Many beds are low which can make standing up challenging. Furthermore, mattresses often have some give to them that cause them to sink slightly under someone’s body weight. Together these two factors make standing up harder, especially if one has any form of weakness in their legs.

security-pole

With a floor to ceiling pole positioned at the bedside, an individual can grab it to help pull themselves up from bed and steady themselves as they walk away, start to use a gait aid or transfer to a wheelchair for mobility assistance.

  1. Living Room – helpful for moving into a chair or couch and for assistance with standing up.

Another room to place a transfer pole is within the living room. In this room, it can be used to help someone reposition within their favorite chair or couch. It can also be used to assist with lowering themselves into the seat or help with rising out of it.

A security pole is usually used by seniors that wish to age in place and live independently on their own with less support from family or private caregivers. Given that the living room is often a main living space for many, a supportive bar to help with standing and balance can be useful when no one else is around to provide assistance.

Important considerations when installing a floor to ceiling transfer pole

Each home has a different layout and every individual has their own capabilities. In order to successfully install and safely use a floor mounted ceiling pole, some certain conditions must be met:

  1. Height of the room must not be too tall – the ceiling must be 9 feet high or lower when installing most poles.

While tension mounted floor to ceiling poles are height adjustable to fit rooms with varying sizes, the maximum ceiling height capable of accommodating this equipment is generally 9 feet tall. 

Anything beyond this height would either require a pole extension to be used to lengthen the bar even further, or to utilize an alternative standing aid to support someone with balance and getting up from a seat.

  1. Need good upper body strength for pulling – sufficient grasping and upper arm strength is required to use the pole.

This equipment does not do the work for you, rather it helps to offload some of the strength required to stand into other parts of your body to assist with the movement. If someone has a slight to moderate amount of weakness in their torso or legs, they may be able to continue to stand up on their own by grabbing this pole for support and pulling themselves up. 

However, if someone is incapacitated or physically disabled to the point where they require assistance from two or more caregivers with standing, an alternate supportive aid may need to be considered. 

  1. Must be able to weight bear through the legs – one must be able to stand for short periods of time if using this equipment.

In order to use this equipment, one must be able to bear weight through their legs while transferring onto another nearby surface or seat. If someone were to have no ability to place weight through their lower body, they would drop to the floor the very instance they stand up and try to rely on their legs for balance.

  1. Clearance needed around the pole – there must be enough room to safely maneuver around the pole.

In order to move to another surface or start using a mobility device, there should be enough clearance around the pole. This can be particularly challenging because the pole itself must also be within reach of the bed, bath/shower or preferred chair as having a pole in the centre of the room with nothing around it serves no purpose.

Thus, when considering the layout of one’s living space, a floor to ceiling pole can start to make the room feel crowded and busy relatively quickly. Careful thought must be placed in regards to its location as the bar itself can interfere with walking or positioning a wheelchair near the equipment.

  1. Regular maintenance must be performed – check the equipment regularly to ensure it remains sturdy and well secured in place.

For any medical equipment, safety measures must be taken to ensure the device is in good working order. For a security pole, this means that the mechanism must be checked for appropriate tension to ensure that it is able to bear someone’s weight during any transfer attempt. 

As well, the equipment must be wiped down regularly of any moisture or water exposure to ensure that the material does not rust or degrade overtime. This is especially for poles that are situated within the bathroom where surfaces may get wet more easily.

  1. Pole users must have intact cognition – must have the capacity to understand how to safely utilize the equipment to facilitate a transfer.

In order to safely use a floor to ceiling transfer pole and not sustain a fall during a transfer attempt, one must understand the steps that need to be taken during any movement with the pole’s support.

For example, someone that has impaired thinking or rationalization skills may not follow appropriate transfer mechanics. This could make getting out of bed, or the shower more difficult and potentially dangerous if someone does not have insight into their own physical abilities or understand how they should position their body to safely get up.

It is well known that cognition can fluctuate throughout the day depending on one’s energy levels, nutritional intake, and pain levels. So it is important that a cognitive assessment be completed to determine safety with using transfer aids. In most cases, a physician, or an allied rehab therapist trained on basic home safety and medical equipment can help determine if one is safe to use a floor to ceiling pole.