Bed rails are more like tools that can help the elderly move around independently. It helps them get in and out of bed without the support and helps provide support too. They are used in hospitals, homes and care homes to create a safe sleeping environment for the elderly. It prevents falls and saves them from a lot of undue injuries. So if you think that your loved one needs support getting in and out of bed and while staying in bed, then bed rails are your ultimate solution. However, when investing in bed rails, special precautions should be taken to make the right decision.
When getting in and out of bed, the elderly often need support or someone they can hold on to or something they can push and pull to improve their balance as they move. Relying on someone makes them feel less in control of their lives and more dependent on those around them. Instead of asking for help everytime they have to move, the elderly can now move on of their own accord. This is possible with the help of bed rails which get attached to their beds and give them all the sturdy support they need to get out of bed or move in to one. It is helpful for anyone who has
Lack of flexibility
Lack of strength and endurance
So bed rails are particularly helpful for the elderly, but if anyone suffers from these issues due to some physical injury and needs support till he recovers, the bed rails can be helpful there as well.
Benefits Of Bed Rails
Be it bed rails, safety rails, bed handles or whatever name you give to this equipment, they all tend to serve the same purpose and are beneficial for loved ones in your life.
A holding hand: The bed rail works as a hand the elderly can hold on to when they have to sit up or lie down on their beds. Instead of them calling out to someone for help, they can do it on their own. Stomach pains, back pains or poor flexibility can cause a hindrance in movements even when it comes to turning sides while laying down. With the bed rail in place, elderly can easily use it for support to move around comfortably.
Guidance: With the bed rails in positions, the elderly can find guidance in finding the right spot which can help getting up and sitting down comfortable for them. When they have gotten used to it, they can even tell about the best position to have the bed rails installed at to reap the most benefits out of them. This helps them in guiding their movements so that they can properly balance out their movements.
Prevents fall: Most of the times, the elderly who have balance issues or suffer from dizziness, getting up or sitting down can make them lose control of their body. This is often a cause of falls and a lot of injuries. Having the bed rail with them all the time, they can take its support when they feel themselves losing balance or about to fall down.
Independence: Asking someone to help them every time they have to sit up or get up can be a huge blow to their self-confidence. The ones who have lived independently all their lives, find this aspect of old age disheartening. With bed rails, the elderly can continue to exercise the same amount of independence in their lives. It helps them feel less of a burden when they can continue to move around and get on/off the bed as they please.
Things To Look For In Bed Rails
When you go out to buy bed rails, there are a lot of things that you should look into. You loved ones will be depending on these safety rails every day of their lives. So it is important that you buy something that you can trust.
Weight limit: Bed rails support the weight of the person who is using them. So when buying bed rails pay special attention to the weight range they can support especially knowing that they would be used by someone with certain medical conditions.
Height: Bed rails come in two different heights: short and long. If your loved one suffers from conditions where he can fall down while sleeping or moving around, then you should buy the bed rail which is longer in length. However, if it is only to be used for support and would have nothing to do with fall prevention, then you can go ahead and buy the short ones as well. Most of these bed rails come with height adjustability options. So when buying one, make sure that it matches the height of your loved one and can fully support their weight.
Width: The bed rails which are a bit wider provide better support than the ones that aren’t. So depending on the help your loved ones might need, you should consider width as an important factor too.
Risks involved: You would want the bed rails to be safe and secure. When buying always check for moving parts to see if the equipment is sturdy or not. Also, check the equipment thoroughly to see that it doesn’t have any parts your loved ones might get entrapped in and fall down.
Portability: The portable bed rails are beneficial for the people who like to travel a lot. They can carry these safety rails with then and have them adjusted to their beds no matter where they are.
Material: Bed rails if are not strong, they would be of no use at all. So it is better to buy the bed rails which are made from a solid material that can handle their weight.
Design: The design of the bed rails is important if your loved one is concerned about the look of their room. You can find these bed handles in many designs so make sure you get the ones the elderly would like to have around them.
Different Types Of Bed Rails
When you talk to the bed rails, the only image that comes to your mind is that of a bed support at the side of the bed. It is not till you actually go to buy them that you realize the different types that are available for you in the market. Some of the most common ones are discussed below.
These bed rails are particularly helpful for the elderly couples who like to travel a lot. Instead of staying in the confinements of their home some couples like to travel and enjoy their lives even when they are old. With the portable bed rails, they have the liberty of going to any place they want. It would also give you the surety that your loved ones are safe and sound no matter where they are. They are easy to pack, are foldable and are light in weight so that they can be carried with the luggage without much hassle. However, they should be easy to take down and put up so that the caretaker can easily put them up on the beds without any extra help.
The adjustable bed rails are helpful and save you a lot of money as well. Instead of buying the bed rails in different heights, with the adjustable bed rails you can now adjust the height depending on the comfort and ease of your loved ones. These bed rails where help you save money, there, on the other hand, they are less stable and pose more entrapment risks. Therefore, it is where you might need to make some serious judgment calls to figure out your priorities. If you think your loved ones will not be able to handle their weight or end up falling because of it, then it is better to give up on it. However, if they can handle themselves and will only use it for a little bit of support, and then the adjustable bed rails are a great value for money.
The regular bed rails are fixed. They are neither adjustable in height nor are they portable. Depending on the material, they are made up of and their design, they can provide some massive support and help to the elderly. These ones are particularly helpful to the people who suffer from serious physical or mental issues. These bed rails can keep them safe while sleeping and can prevent them from falling as well. However, if your loved one is tall, then these bed rails prove to be of no help at all. Since the person would have to stoop down pretty low to hold the rails while standing up that the whole purpose of the bed rails would be defeated.
There is no fixed position to install the bed rails. Depending on the person who would be using them, you would have to adjust their position.
For a taller person, the bed rails usually go a bit on the top side of the bed. This gives them enough room to swing their legs as they get off the bed and hold to the rails for support.
For the ones with short or medium height, it is preferred to have the bed rails installed mid-way up the length of the bed.
You can start by adjusting the bed rails mid-way to about three quarters of the bed’s length and then adjust the position as you go till it comes to the level best suited to your loved ones.
How Much Do They Cost?
Depending on the design of the bed rails, they can cost anywhere from $50 to $200.
Installation And Security
This is perhaps the most important aspect of bed rails. Extra precautions and care should be taken to install the bed rails and make sure that the installation is thorough to make them safe for your loved ones. Make sure when setting up the bed rails you follow the instructions and secure all the bolts to make the joints secure. The bed rails vary in their design and hence their installation as well. Some are made to get attached to the mattress and some to the bed frame using strappings. However, some of them are not fitted with anything and depend on the weight of the mattress to hold them in place.
For installation, you would have to follow the instruction manual because each design has its own steps that you would have to adhere to. Make sure that you have your loved one practice using them in your presence before you leave them off to use them on their own. When the strappings are used to secure the bed rails, they are either installed to the mattress or the bed frame. However, if the bed rails do not come with strappings, then they are kept in place by the weight of the mattress.
When installing, serious precautions should be taken to meet the approved standards and make sure that the bed rails are safe for the elderly. Some of the bed rails are made for the elderly while others are made for the people who suffer from temporary illness or injury. In that case, the bed rails are chosen depending on the need of time and the seriousness of the condition.
Bed rails are a great way to ensure the safety of your loved ones. Make sure that you do a complete market research and survey before buying yourself one. From weight to the type you want to buy to the final installation process, pay close attention to each and every aspect. If you fall short in any one of them or are not thorough in either one of these decisions, you can end up causing some serious harm to your loved ones. So do you have anything to add to the article? Do let us know in the comments below.