Should You Install Bed Rails?
If you are caring for a loved one that is at risk of falling out of bed you may be considering using bed rails. Knowing a loved one is safely tucked up in bed at night can give a caregiver that extra peace of mind.
Used correctly, bed rails can help reduce the risk of falling out of bed for certain people, but caregivers need to be aware of the risks of incorrect usage.
For example, people who fear falling out of bed, for instance after a stroke, can feel much safer with bed rails.
But for someone with dementia, bed rails can be hazardous and increase the risk of injury.
Bed Rail Safety Concerns
- It is not uncommon for people with dementia to attempt to climb over bed rails overnight; for people who are at risk of falls due to night time wandering, lowering the bed to the floor is preferable.
- People with dementia generally feel trapped by bed rails causing increased anxiety and agitation. It is not unusual for people with dementia to hang onto or shake bed rails overnight putting them at risk of injury.
- Skin tears often occur when arms and legs get caught in between bed rails. Heads can also get stuck in the space between the mattress and the bed rail.
- Purchasing bed protectors can soften bed rails but many people with dementia and agitation will pull bed protectors off. Be sure that any bed protectors are secure and fit firmly around the bed rail.
The use of bed rails needs to be considered carefully. Keep in mind that a person’s needs and health can change over time and the use of bed rails may need to be reassessed.
If you are concerned a loved one may fall out of bed other strategies to consider before using bed rails include:
- Purchasing a high-low bed and lowering it to the ground overnight. Place a soft mattress next to the bed for a safer landing.
- Use alarm systems and devices that alert carers of movement or attempts to climb out of bed.
- Use grip and bed handles on the side of the bed as an alternative to a bed rail to assist with transfers.
- Move one side of the bed close to the wall.
- Encourage the use of hip protectors to reduce the risk of injury.
- Ensure a person is ready for sleep when they are put to bed.
- Consider modifying the environment to encourage sleep. Night lights, soft music and ensuring the TV is turned off may induce sleep.
- Many older people fall overnight as they can’t get to the toilet in time. Installing a bed handle, using a urinal overnight or placing a commode next to the bed can make toileting safer and easier.
Bed rails are designed to provide protection and security to individuals who cannot reliably support themselves, and can also be used as a precautionary measure for those who will be limited their bed for an extended period of time. These rails are often portable, and typically feature handholds that assist the user in rising to a seated or standing position.
If you have a loved one entering a care home, their need for bed rails will be considered on an individual basis. A restraint form must be signed by family and a doctor detailing the specific use of bed rails and reassessed every few months.
If you have decided that you or your loved one need the added safety that a bed rail provides, consider my personal recommendation:
This Stander EZ Adjust Bed Rail works well as a side rail for preventing falls, as well as a support bar for getting in and out of bed.
It adjusts from 26″ to 34″ to 42″ with the push of a button.
- It includes a dual safety strap that secures it to the bed frame.
- The rail also folds down and out of the way when it isn’t in use.
- The Stander EZ Adjust can be installed on either side of the bed in between the mattress and box spring.
- The Stander EZ Adjust works well on any size home or hospital bed rail and at 23″ high it accommodates the thicker pillow top mattresses; also works well with adjustable beds.
- It comes with a bonus 6-pocket organizer, which prevents entrapment and is perfect for keeping handy items close by.
- Weight capacity: 300lbs
The Stander EZ Adjust is a best seller on Amazon, and has over 1,000 customer reviews, with a 4.5 star total rating.
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