Products

HealthCraft SuperPole 101: Before You Buy (Part 2)

6 questions to help you choose the right SuperPole for you
Sara Barnoski  ·
October 29, 2020  ·
15 minute read
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What do I need to know before I buy a HealthCraft SuperPole?

You’ll need to know what’s above your ceiling before you buy a HealthCraft SuperPole (spacing of ceiling joists, presence of any plumbing or heating). You’ll also need to know where and how you intend to use the SuperPole in your home to pick the right combination of accessories.

This article is the second in a three-part series called: HealthCraft SuperPole 101.

If you’re thinking about buying a HealthCraft SuperPole, you probably have some questions.

This makes sense, because the SuperPole System contains a wide variety of options and accessories. In this article, we’ve compiled and answered 5 of the most-asked questions to help you get informed about them. By the end of this article, we hope you’ll feel more confident navigating the various SuperPole configurations so you can pick the one that’s right for you.

If you have a question about the SuperPole that hasn’t been answered in this article, you may find answers in the other articles in this series.

Part 1 introduces the SuperPole System and explains its fundamental elements. If you’ve never heard of the HealthCraft SuperPole or you need a quick refresher, start with Part 1.

Part 3 provides detailed instructions to help you install and assemble your SuperPole System for almost any combination of parts and accessories. If you’ve already bought a SuperPole and want some help to set it up or you want to know how to prepare for its arrival, check out Part 3.

If you don’t find answers to your specific question in any of these articles—please reach out to us!

Part 2 is designed to help you pick the right product to fit your own (or your loved one’s) specific safety needs by answering the following questions:

1. When is a SuperPole not the right fit?

2. How do I choose the right SuperPole?

3. Do I need additional support accessories like a SuperBar or SuperTrapeze with my SuperPole?

4. Which combinations of additional support accessories and installation hardware are possible for my SuperPole?

5. Can I install a SuperPole in my shower?

6. Where can I install the SuperPole?

1. When is a SuperPole not the right fit?

Before you get too far in your research, you should know that there are certain situations where the HealthCraft SuperPole is not a good fit.

Illustration showing 3 scenarios where the HealthCraft SuperPole is not a good fit.

First, if you have radiant heating above your ceiling or under your floor, you can’t install a SuperPole. This is because the SuperPole’s pressure-fit mechanism can do significant damage to plumbing above your ceiling or under floorboards.

If you don’t know what’s above your ceiling, you should not install a SuperPole. If you do, you risk damaging drywall and anything behind it. If you’re determined to install a SuperPole, take the time to find out what’s above your ceiling (more on this later).

Finally, if your floors have a noticeable slope or if you have loose rugs on the floor, the pressure-fit mechanism won’t be able to secure the SuperPole in place.

Photo of a woman sitting on a sofa in a well-lit living room with a HealthCraft Advantage Rail installed next to her.

If you’re disappointed by these facts—don’t despair! We offer several floor-mounted products with similar features and functionality to the SuperPole, so you won’t have to worry about pressure-fit installation or ceilings. For more information, check out the Advantage Pole and Advantage Rail.     

2. How do I choose the right SuperPole?

This is a question we’re asked a lot—which makes sense! There are a variety of options and configurations within the SuperPole System, so it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

To help clarify the various choices, this section of this article provides a step-by-step process to help you understand your needs.

Step 1: How much weight does your SuperPole need to support?

Start by answering this question: How much does the person who will be using the SuperPole weigh?

Please don’t be embarrassed! We’re not actually asking you to tell us how much you weigh! You can keep this to yourself (phewf!). All of our SuperPoles are built to be able to support up to 300 lbs, which can accommodate most users.

If you require a SuperPole that can support more weight, we offer a heavy-duty version (also called Bariatric SuperPole) that supports up to 450 lbs. This pole is made of a thicker gauge material than our standard pole. This increased internal thickness on the Bariatric SuperPole provides strength without any difference in external appearance.   

Step 2: What is the floor-to-ceiling height in the room you’re installing your SuperPole?

Measure the height in inches between the floor and ceiling in the room(s) where you’re planning to install a SuperPole.

Rendering showing the height ranges of the HealthCraft SuperPole with and without a Unifit Extender, as well as the SuperPole Ultra.

The standard height range for a HealthCraft SuperPole or Bariatric SuperPole  (heavy duty) is between 93” and 99” tall. If your floor-to-ceiling height is within this range, you won’t need any additional installation hardware for your SuperPole.

If your floor-to-ceiling height is greater than 99” but less than 120”, you’ll need to add a Unifit Extender to the top of the pole. This will safely extend the height capacity of your SuperPole by up-to 21”.

Note: The Unifit Extender is not compatible with the Bariatric SuperPole. If you have high ceilings and need a device that can support over 300 lbs, you should consider our floor-mounted Bariatric Advantage Pole  or Bariatric Advantage Rail.

Photo of a man using a HealthCraft Advantage Rail in an upholstered living room chair to transfer to a wheelchair.

If your ceilings are more than 10 feet tall (please don’t mind my jealousy), we offer a product called the SuperPole Ultra with a height range between 121” and 140”. Due to the additional height, this version of the SuperPole won’t feel as sturdy as its shorter relatives, and cannot be paired with any additional support accessories (SuperBar or SuperTrapeze, more on these soon).

Again, if you’re looking for SuperPole functionality and you have exceptionally high ceilings (seriously, I’m not even jealous), take a look at our floor-mounted counterparts—the Advantage Pole or Advantage Rail

We accommodate ceiling heights lower than 93’’ by custom cutting the SuperPole for a small fee upon purchase. This service is provided by HealthCraft. Cutting the pole yourself will void its warranty. If for some reason, the measurements were incorrect, this can be remedied with a Unifit Extender.

Step 3. How are your ceilings built, and where will you be placing your SuperPole?​

The reason this question is important is because the SuperPole’s pressure fit mechanism relies on the support of ceiling joists.

Joists are to ceilings what studs are to walls; they provide structural support. In most homes, ceiling joists are spaced 16” or 24” apart. If you don’t know the spacing of your joists, this article provides instructions on how to locate them. If you don’t feel comfortable climbing a ladder for any reason, ask for help.

There are a two ways you can safely position a SuperPole in relation to your ceiling joists:

  1. Directly underneath a single ceiling joist: In this case, it does not matter if the ceiling plate is parallel or perpendicular to the joist because the pressure will be applied right under the joist.
  2. Between two ceiling joists with the ceiling plate underneath both of them: If your SuperPole will be positioned under a bay between two ceiling joists, the ceiling plate needs to distribute the pressure between the two joists. Otherwise, the pressure fit mechanism would crack the drywall in your ceiling.   
Illustration showing how the HealthCraft SuperPole can be positioned either directly underneath a ceiling joist or with it's ceiling plate making contact with two ceiling joists at a 90-degree angle.

If your ceiling joists are on 16” centres, you should be able to position your SuperPole in either of these ways without a Ceiling Plate Extender.

If your ceiling joists are further than sixteen inches apart, you’ll need a Ceiling Plate Extender if you want to position your SuperPole between two joists.

Two side-by-side renderings showing the HealthCraft SuperPole's Ceiling Plate Extender accessory.


Again, if your SuperPole will be positioned directly under a joist, a Ceiling Plate Extender won’t be necessary.

If your ceiling is angled

Photo showing the details of an Angled Ceiling Plate at the top of a HealthCraft SuperPole under an angled ceiling.

The SuperPole’s Angled Ceiling Plate is a piece of additional installation hardware that allows it to be installed under a pitched roof or vaulted ceiling.

You’ll still need to know where your ceiling joists are for safe installation—so don’t skip the previous step! If you have a vaulted ceiling with exposed beams, this is super easy.

Line drawing showing how to position an Angled Ceiling Plate for HealthCraft SuperPole Installation under an angled ceiling.

When installing a SuperPole under an angled ceiling, you’ll need to place the Angled Ceiling Plate so both of the middle holes align on the ceiling joist, and screw it in. This way, the SuperPole will be centered underneath the joist and the pressure-fit mechanism will be as secure as on a flat ceiling.

3. Do I need additional support accessories like a SuperBar or SuperTrapeze with my SuperPole?

Another part of what makes the HealthCraft SuperPole unique is its add-on support accessories. We’ve mentioned some things about them up to this point, but we’ll explain each accessory in detail below.

SuperBar

Photo of a middle-aged man in the bathroom using a HealthCraft SuperPole with SuperBar attachment.

The SuperBar is our most popular support accessory for the SuperPole. So much so, that many people think the SuperBar comes standard with every SuperPole—and many people who buy the SuperPole without it end up purchasing it separately later.

The SuperBar accessory adds a lot of functionality to a SuperPole because it gives you support that’s perpendicular to your body. This means you can hold onto it with two hands or even lean most of your weight on it for extra support during a transfer.

Animated GIF showing a woman using a SuperPole with SuperBar to get out of bed with its pivot and lock functionality.

Perhaps most importantly, the SuperBar’s proprietary pivot and lock mechanism provides movable support in 8 positions each separated by 45 degrees. This means the user can execute transitions in multiple stages with support that can follow them through every step.

A SuperBar can be combined with any other SuperPole, accessory, or installation hardware—except for the SuperPole Ultra (121 – 140”).

Most people purchase the SuperBar with their SuperPole to take advantage of the combined features and functionality. If you’re not sure about it when you buy, you can add the bar later, but you’ll need to dismantle and reinstall your SuperPole to attach the SuperBar add-on kit.

SuperTrapeze

Photo of a woman pulling herself up out of bed using the HealthCraft SuperPole with both hands on the SuperTrapeze accessory.

The SuperTrapeze can be attached to the top of the SuperPole to help someone who is lying down pull themselves up to a seated position. It has two offset rungs that allow the user to take a two-handed, phased approach to pulling themselves up in an ergonomically friendly way.

It can accommodate a person weighing up to 300 lbs, but no more than 150 lbs should be exerted on the SuperTrapeze.

For this reason, the SuperTrapeze support accessory cannot be paired with a Bariatric SuperPole (450 lbs weight capacity), a Unifit Extender (100 – 120”), an Angled Ceiling Plate, or a SuperPole Ultra (121 – 140”).  It can, however, be used with standard (93 – 99”) and custom cut (< 93”) SuperPoles, Ceiling Plate Extenders (for ceiling joists on 24” centres), and SuperBar accessories.

Note: If you need a Trapeze support accessory, but your specific SuperPole setup can’t accommodate it, we also offer a ceiling-mounted version.

4. Which combinations of additional support accessories and installation hardware are possible for my SuperPole?

By now, you may have a better idea of which SuperPoles and accessories you might want—but in case you’re still not sure, the following table outlines all the possible combinations:

Table showing the possible combinations of HealthCraft SuperPole configurations.

5. Can I install a SuperPole in my shower?

Due to its steel alloy construction, the SuperPole cannot be installed inside the shower because it will rust. It can, however, be installed outside of the shower with limited water contact to help someone transfer from their shower to another mobility device.

If you’re looking to install a product with similar safety features in your shower (movable, two-handed, forward-facing support), our Dependa-Bar is specifically designed for this application. It also works well installed outside of the shower beside a toilet where there may not be enough clearance to install a SuperPole on the floor.

6. Where can I install the SuperPole?

The HealthCraft SuperPole can go anywhere inside the house where it is not exposed to the elements or large amounts of water.

We always recommend consulting your care team (occupational therapists, doctors, physiotherapists, family members, caregivers) to make sure that your SuperPole is properly placed to meet your needs and provide effective safety coverage for your space.

Below are some of the most common and recommended placements for the HealthCraft SuperPole:

  • In front of the toilet for transfers in and out of the shower, or on and off the toilet
  • Bedside the bed as an alternative to bed rails
  • In front of your favourite chair or couch in the living room
  • In the kitchen beside a table or food prep area

More questions?

By this point, we hope you understand the various configurations for the HealthCraft SuperPole system.

Remember:

  • knowing where and how you intend to use your SuperPole system will help you choose the appropriate support accessories and installation hardware, and;
  • understanding how your house is built will make it easier to choose the right components to make the SuperPole work in your home.

If you have questions about set-up, installation, or assembly, be sure to check out the next article in this three-part series! It provides an in-depth guide to installing and assembling your SuperPole System for almost any combination of poles, installation hardware, and support accessories!

Do you have more general questions about the SuperPole and how it works? Check out Part 1 in this series.

If you’ve read all three pieces and still can’t find answers to your specific questions, please reach out to us directly and sign up for our mailing list. We’re committed to answering your questions and subscribers are the first to find out about updated answers and new articles (they also get access to exclusive discounts throughout the year).

Sara Barnoski is a sales and marketing specialist at HealthCraft Group. Her passions include advocating for widespread accessibility, helping people find effective safety solutions, and good chocolate.
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