A study done by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Canada’s national housing agency, came to the conclusion that “A minimum of two grab bars should be installed in all bathtubs used by seniors, one on the faucet wall (vertical) for entering and exiting the tub, and one on the back wall (horizontal or on an angle) to help with sitting down and standing up.”
The same study, available at http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/inpr/rehi/rehi_007.cfm, recommends that “On the faucet wall, a second horizontal bar is also useful in entering the tub and, as long as the bar extends beyond the edge of the tub, for exiting as well.”
The study recommends also that when a new bathtub is constructed, that the back wall and the faucet and head walls have drywall reinforcement areas “incorporated to facilitate the installation of secure and appropriate grab bars”.
Entering and exiting the bathtub and sitting down and standing up in the bathtub are difficult and dangerous activities for many seniors. Grab bars are among the most useful items to prevent falls and injuries in the bathroom.