Most people think of bed rail models as the hospital bed rails which are full length safety rails seen on hospital beds. But the truth is, there are a variety of adult bed rails available that are not as full size.
Some people call them them a bed handle, others call them assist rails or safety bed rails or grab bars. Whatever you call them, if you need one for older adults to either keep them safely in bed or to help them get into a standing position from bed, make sure to choose the right one.
Guide To Selecting The Best Bed Rail For You
Just like anything else, there are a few factors you want to keep in mind when selecting the best bed rail. Before you run out and just purchase any bed rail, read through this guide so that you can choose the best option for your senior loved one.
These factors include:
- Comfort – if the senior in the bed has very thin and fragile skin, then you’ll want to look for a railing that has padding to help prevent any nicks and cuts on their skin.
- Ease of use – it’s important to install a bed rail that is easy to use and to pull up and down if that’s the type of railing that you need.
- Type of bed – if your bed is one of those adjustable beds, you will need to look for a bed railing that can be used on that type of bed.
- Bed size – the size of the bed will determine the size of the rail you need. You don’t want a railing that’s too big or too small.
- The weight of the person – know the weight limit of the bed railing and what it can support.
- The height of the person – if the person is very tall, they may need a taller railing. If they are shorter, they may need a shorter railing.
The type of bedside rails you end up choosing should meet as many of the requirements that you need as possible to help keep yourself or a senior loved one as safe as possible.
Keep these factors in mind when selecting the best bed rail for you or your loved one.
Types Of Bed Rails
There are so many different types of bed rails and again, it’s important to choose the one that best suits the needs of the senior and the caregiver. So here are some ideas to help you.
Bed Rail Plus Step
For seniors who may have some limited mobility and just need a little additional support getting into and out of bed, the Step2Bed Bed Rail that comes attached to a step stool may be a good solution.
It’s adjustable height makes it easy to accommodate the person and the bed. It’s strapped with Velcro to the side of the bed frame and can be used on either side of a bed.
Additional features include a sensory motion light and rubber grips for the floor.
I would caution that for anyone who has the slightest problems with balance to avoid using this type of product since stepping on and off the step stool may be unsafe.
Easy To Install
A bed safety rail does not only keep a senior from falling out of bed, they can be used as a support to help the person stand up or as an aid when sitting up or lying down in the bed. These types are often called a bed assist rail.
The Medline Bed Assist bar is a smaller type of bed rail that sits between the mattress and the box spring. All the legless bed rails that tuck under the mattress are easy to install. No need to attach it to the bed frame which makes it very easy to install and can be used on any side of the bed.
NOTE: I would not recommend this smaller type of bed rail if you are trying to keep someone from falling out of bed.
Dual Bed Rails
The LumaRail double sided bed rail is perfect if you need a small support rail on both sides of the bed. Works great for seniors who sleep in twin size beds. It’s sturdy bar can provide you with a better grip to help you get in and out of bed.
If you need a more “full size” type of bed rail to help prevent someone from falling out of bed we can recommend the Bed Rails from Carex Health.
It’s basically two sets of bed rails that when used together creates a full side rail for the person in bed.
There are no tools necessary to install it so it’s extremely easy and it only weights 12 pounds.
For Adjustable Beds
Half length bed rails like the Able Life Bedside Extend-a-rail are the type that are most often used for adjustable beds. Unless of course, the bed itself comes (or has an added accessory) of it’s very own bed rail.
Adjustable Length Bed Rail
The Drive Medical Home Bed Rail and other adjustable bed rails like it can be adjusted according to the length of your bed. It’s perfect if you currently just need a shorter bed rail but anticipate that you may need a full length one in the future. I would however make sure to add some type of padding on the railings.
Padding and Bumper Pads
This padding that can be placed over the bed railing can help to prevent bruises and cuts in your senior loved one’s skin.
There are some definite safety precautions that should be adhered to in order to ensure that the bed rails do not cause an injury.
Once installed, check the bed rails regularly for signs of loosening, shifting or gaps that could allow entrapment of the head, arms, legs or feet. No matter the width, length and/or depth of the mattress, there shouldn’t be any gap between the bed frame, bedside rail and mattress that’s wide enough to trap a person’s head or body, according to the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).Forbes.com
There are generally two purposes that adults require bed side rails:
- To reduce the risk of falls from the bed
- To provide a little extra support to get into and out of bed
All bed rails must be installed with a secure fit to the bed otherwise they could cause unnecessary injury.
One note of caution: If your senior loved one is prone to thrashing about while in the bed, I would strongly recommend to add padding to any bed rail that is added to help avoid them getting their hands, arms and legs caught in the railings.
All in all – there are many more different types of bed rails that you can use.