Ceiling Rails for Cerebral Palsy


Children with cerebral palsy may need additional support to comfortably walk or transfer into a mobility aid. A ceiling rail system can include support harnesses and lifts that might make it easier for cerebral palsy patients to navigate their homes comfortably.

What Are Ceiling Rails?

Ceiling rails are durable tracks mounted to the ceiling that can facilitate easier movement. You will often see ceiling rails installed in rehabilitation facilities, as these rails can support various types of body harnesses and lifts. Suspended from ceiling rails, these lifts and harnesses:

  • Provide patients with support and stability
  • Help patients move along the track system independently or with minimal assistance
  • Facilitate easier transfers
  • Ease the physical strain on caregivers

You can purchase ceiling rails at many hardware stores, but it’s important to verify the strength, durability, and intended use for these rails if you’re planning to install this type of support system in your own home. It’s best to select an overhead track system that’s been specially designed to work with components like:

  • Gait harnesses: A gait harness supports the body with a series of straps that are typically placed around the trunk and legs. This makes it easier for patients with cerebral palsy to walk.
  • Lift swings: A lift swing is a large swing suspended from above that patients can sit in while transferring.

Uses for Ceiling Rail Systems

Children with cerebral palsy may struggle to walk or move independently. They may need support from a body harness to walk from one part of the home to another. Alternately, individuals with cerebral palsy may use a wheelchair or other mobility device that they need to transfer in and out of. Ceiling rail systems can provide support and assistance in either case. These systems may be used to:

  • Support movement from one area to another: You might install a ceiling rail system that connects major parts of the home so your child can move from one area to another unassisted or add a ceiling rail to a particular part of the house so the child can move around that space. For example, a circular ceiling rail in a large living room or playroom can facilitate more opportunities for physical activity and diversified play when children are young.
  • Support transfers: With this setup, you would place ceiling rails and harnesses or lifts in places where your child commonly needs to transfer in and out of their mobility device. For example, you may have a ceiling rail lift system beside the child’s bed, in front of the toilet and shower, and near their seat at the dining room table. This will help older children transfer independently from a bed or chair to their wheelchair or another similar mobility aid.

The Benefits of Ceiling Rails

Ceiling rails offer several benefits over other types of mobility aids.

  • Out-of-the-way installation: By mounting the device to the ceiling, you can keep it out of the way of other items in the room. This lift and harness system won’t clutter up the home or get in the way of regular foot traffic for others who share the living space.
  • Versatile placement: You can install ceiling rails anywhere your child needs extra support. Adding ceiling rails in areas where children commonly transfer will help both the child and caregiver. More than 52% of caregivers suffer from chronic back pain. Having to use awkward postures to help patients move or transfer is a major risk factor, which can be eliminated with a well-placed lift system.
  • Enhanced interaction: One study found that toddlers with disabilities have low variability in their physical activity, focusing the majority of their time on a small number of movements. They also interact less with their peers. Implementing a mobility system with ceiling rails can make new areas accessible to children, allowing them to interact and play in ways that were previously impossible.

Choosing the Right Ceiling Rail System

When you’re choosing rails to install on the ceiling for a child with cerebral palsy, it’s important to consider all possible uses for the system. Ask yourself:

  • Are these rails for moving around via a gait harness system, or are they only for transfers?
  • What is the minimum and maximum height of the lift system, and will it comfortably reach my child’s height?
  • How much weight can the rails support?
  • Do the ceiling rails need to be compatible with a motorized lift system?
  • Does the lift sling or harness connect with two, four, or six points?

While ceiling rails can provide great benefits, it’s essential that you make sure the pieces you’re using were designed for this purpose and support your child safely.

The therapies and systems used to help a child with cerebral palsy can be expensive. If you believe that your child’s CP is the result of medical malpractice, you may be eligible for compensation. The Cerebral Palsy Family Lawyers at Janet, Janet & Suggs, LLC have helped thousands of families navigate their cases. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you and your child.

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