How to install grab bars for the Home Improvement (HIP) Programme?
What is the Home Improvement Programme (HIP)?
The Home Improvement Programme (HIP), is an initiative by HDB to help resolve common maintenance problems of aging flats. The HIP was introduced in 2007 for flats that were built up to 1986. In 2018, it was extended to include flats built between 1987 and 1997.
What is included in HIP?
There are 3 components to HIP
- Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) Improvements
In this article, we will focus on the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) Improvements. EASE’s main goal is to enhance the safety and comfort of seniors living in HDB flats. There are a few options homeowners can choose from based on their needs and the condition of their house:
- Slip-resistant treatment to floor tiles of 2 toilets/ bathrooms
- Grab bars (available in white or reddish brown) in 2 toilets/ bathrooms
- Ramps to navigate level differences in the flat and at the main entrance, where technically feasible [Ramp at the main entrance will be offered for entrances with single-step ramp, portable ramp or customised ramp for multi-step main entrance, and if technically feasible, for e.g., no space constraints or compliance to authorities’ requirements].
Grab bar installation during HIP
Grab bars are safety tools that are designed to provide important points of support for the elderly. The list of important points are (Do note the list in not exhaustive and it is critical to assess the location and purpose with the intended user):
- Areas with wet surfaces (e.g. Bathroom)
- Walking aisles (e.g. living room walkway)
- Elevated surfaces (e.g. stairs, bathroom ledges)
- Sitting to standing (e.g. Getting up from the toilet bowl, getting up from the bed or sofa)
The important points are usually areas of high fall risks. Factors that contribute to high fall risks include wet surfaces, elevated surfaces and places where it requires the user to get up from a sitting or lying down position.
Purpose of grab bar and positions to install
The purpose of installing a grab bar is to provide the user with a permanent and sturdy support point to complete activities like walking, getting up or being stabilised. Users can rely on the grab bar to complete those activities safely, thus achieving the goal of creating a safer environment for them.
Here are a few tips to decide where the grab bars can be installed:
- Identify areas of higher fall risks
As mentioned above, areas such as wet surfaces, elevated grounds, and places that require the user to change from a sitting to standing position are considered to have higher risks. Walk through with the user where they usually face difficulty.
2. Identify supporting points in those areas (e.g. which wall/ tool does the user rely on to get up or move around)
Within the locations identified in point 1, observe where the user usually supports to complete activities such as walking or getting up. Those will be the positions you can consider to install the grab bar.
3. Determine the height of the user and the most comfortable position of support
After identifying the support points, go through with the user what are the actions they usually take to complete those activities. In this step, take note of where the users rely on as those will be the height of where the grab bars will be installed
4. Decide on the length of the grab bar
The last step will be to decide on the length of the grab bar. There are grab bar lengths ranging from 30 cm to 60 cm. The length can be decided by how the user will use the grab bar. Longer grab bars can be installed at locations where the user needs to move from point A to point B. Shorter grab bars can be installed on areas where users need a support point, like getting up on the ledge of the toilet or door.
At Medical Assistance4u
We provide grab bars and support bars with high quality stainless steel cores that are guaranteed to last and grab bar installation services in Singapore. They can be installed in high fall risk areas like toilets, living rooms, walkways and more. The surface of the grab bars are anti-slip to prevent falls.
Our team of medically trained staff at Medical Assistance4u can provide you with consultation services to assist you in finding the best support positions and most suitable safety tools for your loved ones.