More MS news articles for April 2002

Need Help? Ingenious Assistive Aids

January 31, 2002
Pamela Martin

"Of fall-related deaths, 41% take place in the home..."
-National Safety Council National Safety Agenda

Extend A Hand Locking Grab Bar

For those of us who have MS-related fatigue, balance, and mobility impairments, assistive devices--such as grab bars--can provide a real measure of safety. In general, grab bars can be strategically located near the bathtub, toilet, top of stairs, or anywhere in the home where you need an extra hand.

Sarff Systems bills the Extend a Hand as "The World's ONLY Locking Extension Assistance Grab Bar." This unique assistive device is designed to significantly reduce the risk of falling.

The conventional grab bar is generally 1½ inches off the wall and can be hard to reach. In contrast, the Extend A Hand has a 12" extension off the wall that's easier to reach. The unit is a secure resting spot that reduces distortion of your posture and wrist, neck, or back. In addition, the grab bar has an ergonomic feel, is reachable with both hands and provides leverage for the user.

The Extend A Hand grab bar mounts directly to existing studs in your home, on 16", 24" and 32" centers. Several mounting alternatives mean you can choose the best size for your home.

In addition to mounting options, the grab bar is described as "Easy to use!" When you need an extra hand getting out of that slippery tub, simply "lift and the unit will automatically lock into position. After use, just press the buttons and the Extend A Hand easily folds out of the way…" Alternatively, you may simply leave the bar locked into position.

Extend A Hand is priced from $69.99 - $91.99, and is available in 3 standard sizes: 16"x12", 24"x12", and 32"x12." There are 2 finishes offered: White and Stainless Steel (the stainless steel version is about $14 more than the white). Custom sizes are also advertised, so inquire about this at their website


How many times have you declined a visit to an event, or stayed home from a vacation because you didn't have the energy or ability to navigate stairs? Although some progress is being made in structural accommodations for the physically impaired…let's face it. There are still plenty of obstacles at every turn.

That's why this revolutionary idea really caught my attention. Dubbed "the climbing wheelchair," this invention can reportedly climb stairs with no assistance! The unit stays attached to the chair 100% of time, yet does not interfere with normal operation.

According to QQB Medical's website:

"The Independent 2000 is still in the prototype stage and not yet available for commercial distribution as noted on our website.

"However we are not too far off from making the chair available. The time frame is still up in the air, but if you will send your mailing address, we will send you the appropriate information when the chair is available."

The QQB Medical website provides a slide show demonstration of this climbing wheelchair. I'll be very interested in seeing a demo of this in person, once it becomes available. If the Independent 2000 lives up to its billing, it could revolutionize the wheelchair industry.

More important, it would elevate many MS patients to a new realm of opportunity; often unseen by those of us who spend most of our lives on the ground floor.


Sarff Systems, Inc. is the patent owner and manufacturer of Extend A Hand Locking Grab Bar


This article is presented for general information purposes only, and author makes no endorsement, representation, or warranty express or implied as to any product, device, or information described in article. Information provided is not intended as a prescription or recommendation for your personal situation. You should consult with your physician or other appropriate professional for specific advice on your personal health care choices.

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