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Rails, ramps and stair lifts advice

Access to and from your home and within your home can be made safer and easier with some well-positioned rails, ramps, or stair climbing equipment.

Rails can keep you safe and mobile, and they don’t have to be ugly! We have an interesting selection of rails on display, come and see what would work best in your home. Whether it is a grab rail to help through a doorway or over a threshold, for safety in the bathroom, or a banister rail to get you up and down the stairs. We can help you find what is right for you and signpost you to a local service that can supply and fit these rails. See our before you buy grab rails guidance.

grab rail

Portable ramps can be used to make steps accessible to a person who is walking or using a wheelchair. The ramp length can range from 2ft-9 ft. A portable ramp should have a 1:12 gradient for safe use by a person propelling their own wheelchair or using an attendant-propelled wheelchair. For every 2.5cm/1” of rise, a minimum of 30cms/1ft of ramp will be required. Some ramps will fold and have carry handles, some are a single platform and some are made up of two separate channels like these from Enable Access. We have some platform, channel, and threshold ramps at the centre. It is useful to see them and try lifting and positioning the ramps to see if they will work for you at home. See our before you buy portable ramps guidance.

channel ramp from Enable Access


Stairlifts can be fitted to help you make safe use of upstairs and downstairs at home. We have one that you can try at the Independent Living Centre and our therapists can talk to you about the features that would be useful to you and how you can get a stairlift. Would you prefer a joystick, press button, or ergonomically shaped hand control to operate the lift, or would you prefer to use a remote handset? You can try different options with us and work out what is right for you. The stairlift seat is more of a perch than a comfy seat but we can help you find the right height and work out if you need the seat to fold out of the way for safe access at the top and bottom of the stairs. We can show you the options and work out what would be best for you at home.

Our stairlift is set up so that you can feel what it is like to move up and down the stairs and try the controls, the remote handset, and see if you are able to get on and off the seat safely. Seeing a stairlift in action will also help to get an idea of the size and how it might look in your home. Our before you buy stair lift guide, guides you through the essentials and we can give you a list of the local stairlift suppliers. Our therapists can also talk about other solutions for managing the stairs; would grab rails or an extra banister rail help you to be safer on the stairs, would downstairs living be easier for you, or would a through-floor lift be a better solution in your home? We can give you information and discuss the pros and cons of each so that you can consider the best option for your home.