June 14, 2007
HANDRAILS IN HALLWAYS OF NURSING HOMES AND ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES
By: John Kasprak, Senior Attorney
You asked if state law requires nursing homes and assisted living facilities to have handrails in hallways.
The state Public Health Code (PHC) requires nursing homes to have handrails on both sides of patient use corridors. The handrails must have ends returned to the walls, be 31 inches above the finished floor, and extend one and on-half inches from the wall (PHC § 19-13-D8t(v)(19)(C)). Also, grab bars, with sufficient strength and anchorage to sustain 250 pounds for five minutes must be provided at all patients' toilets, showers, and tubs (§ 19-13-D8t(v)(19)(D)).
Such hallway handrails are not required by state law or regulation in assisted living facilities. But some facilities do provide them, especially those with Alzheimer's disease and dementia residents.