It can be helpful to install bed rails for seniors for better overall safety, providing support, and preventing falls. They are supportive tools that look like mini railings, that can be installed onto the bed or around the bed. They are especially instrumental in reducing the assistance a caregiver needs to provide at night.
Bed rails should be able to withstand the person’s body weight and they should also be extremely reliable overall, so the person can get up, sit down and move easily using the rail as support.
In this article, we will discuss some of the best bed rails for seniors, and features you should consider when buying one.
What Should I Look For?
Bed rails help people assist themselves for transfers or for simply getting in and out of bed. They help prevent falls and resulting injuries, making them important tools for accident and injury prevention at home.
Many people start looking for bed rails when their loved one exhibits:
- Shakiness when getting up or sitting down
- Decreased flexibility
- Breathing that seems laborious when walking or standing
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Balance issues
- Joint pain
- Low levels of strength
In many cases, especially if the person exhibits multiple of the signs above, a bed rail may be absolutely necessary. Bed rails can help with:
- Fall prevention
- Increasing independence of loved one, and decreasing dependence on the caregiver
Types of Bed Rails
We have compiled a list of the types of bed rails out there to make it easier for you to choose the one that is right for your needs.
Legless vs. legged
As in the name, a legless bed rail will not have legs. It is designed to be situated around the edge of the bed, with the lower end under the mattress. The upright part will be used as the actual support rail. These rails are only usable if the mattress itself is heavy and large, like a king-size mattress. On smaller beds, there is a greater likelihood that the mattress may lift when the rail is being used, making it not sturdy at all, and potentially dangerous (unless you use an anchor strap).
Legged rails have their supports on the floor making them usable for any kind of bed. Many of them also have rails that stick out horizontally that can be slipped under the mattress.
These rails take up much less space than other kinds of bed rails and are designed to be very compact and usable in tight spaces.
Bed rails with adjustable heights
Bed rails should not be so high that they make the person inside them feel trapped or suffocated. They should also be compatible with people of any height. Having a height-adjustable rail can solve this. These come in the legless and legged style.
Other bed rail types include:
- Dual bed rails
- Floor to ceiling bed rail
- Floor support rails
- Wall-mounted bed rails
Things to Consider
Type of bed
As mentioned above, the type of bed can determine the safety of the rail itself. Heavy beds, like king-sized beds, are more secure for using rails that rely on the weight of the mattress to hold it upright. Additionally, some rails are designed for specific beds. Some rails with legs may not work well with an adjustable bed.
Weight of the person using the rail
Bed rails have their respective weight limits, so this is one of the most important things to keep in mind when purchasing a bed rail. It should be able to support the patient without an issue.
Certain rails can take up more space than others. The space around the bed matters here, as well as whether the bed is placed against a wall or not. If it is not against a wall then a dual-rail can be used, so there are rails on either side of the person.
Who will be adjusting the bed rail
Certain rails are designed to be adjusted or moved by a caregiver. If the person the rail is for will also need to be able to adjust the rail for themselves, this is an important consideration.
Cognitive or physical problems
Certain patients may not work well with rails, and might even injure themselves in the process. Consulting a medical professional to ask for advice in this situation would be a good option.
Most legless bed rails are sold with anchor straps nowadays, which makes them more reliable. It is important to make sure that the strap is included with the product so that you have all the ear necessary to install the product. This will ensure optimal safety for your loved one.
Making sure that there is no object near to the rail that can cause it to fall or shift is crucial for the safety of your loved one. Choosing a bed rail that will fit comfortably in your home with minimal chances of it being tampered with is the best way to get the most out of the product and the safety it brings.
Best Bed Rails for Seniors
LumaRail-FS Bed Assist Rail
The LumaRail Bed Assist Rail is a height-adjustable, legless rail. It has padded grips, a motion-sensing LED light, which can be useful at nighttime and is very easy to set up.
- The motion-sensing LED light and GlowSafe indicator strips make the device easy to use even in darkness
- Anchor strap, to ensure better safety
- Accommodates most types of mattresses
- Comfortable padding
- Can be folded for transport
You can find the product here.
Essential Medical Supply Height Adjustable Hand Bed Rail
This is another legless height-adjustable bed rail on the list, sold by Essential Medical Supply, a trusted brand. It can be used for many kinds of beds and its height-adjustable feature makes it compatible with most homes and patients.
- Non-slip hand grip
- Includes a strap that secures the rail to the other side of the bed.
- Can support up to 300 pounds.
- Its height can adjust from 17 to 21 inches
The Essential Medical Supply Hand Rail typically goes for $36.16.
You can find the product here.
There are other models that come with legs from Essential Medical Supply that can be worth looking into if that is what fits your needs the best. You can find their floor support rail here for $43.39.
Able Life Home Bedside Safety Handle
While this also falls under the legless rail category, we still chose this rail for its unique organizer feature. It is a product that can serve as a rail but also an organizer for water bottles, glasses, medications, remotes, or phones that is easy-to-reach and adds a great deal of convenience to the user.
Other features include:
- Padded handrail
- Height adjustable from 13 to 20 inches
- Machine washable four-pocket organizer pouch
- Compact but sturdy
- Easy to assemble
You can buy their product here.
Vaunn Medical Bed Assist Rail
This is one of the most popular rails currently on the market. Coming under the legged category, the rail is wider than most and can be adjusted to fit any bed size.
- Can hold up to 250 pounds.
- Slip-resistant due to its multiple paddings, which leads to increased stability
- Easy to assemble
$38.19, can go up to $44.50
You can find the product here.
This rail requires a mattress that is more than five inches in height.
When purchasing a bed rail, there are certain things that should be kept in mind to ensure the safety of your loved one when using the rail.
- Check the bed rail regularly to make sure nothing is out of place. There is a chance the rail may loosen or shift which can be very dangerous if not rectified.
- Install using the manufacturer’s instructions
- Use the anchor strap, especially with legless rails
Medicare can cover a hospital bed with bed rails if a doctor has prescribed it. The percentage of coverage is usually dependent upon the state you live in. Medicare Part B can cover durable medical equipment in the home, but it does not cover equipment that is meant to be permanently installed. That being said, the benefits that are offered vary from state to state, so it is better to read more on the official site.
You can read more about Medicare and the coverage they offer for medical beds here.
Bed rails are a fall-preventing, supportive tool for seniors or anyone who has problems with getting in and out of bed. They bring support and stability and can add to a sense of independence for your loved one. This can, in turn, decrease their dependence on the caregiver.
Deciding to purchase a bed rail can be a great long term decision in ensuring the safety of your loved one. With the wide variety available, choosing a bed rail according to all the factors we listed in this article, and the one that best caters to your personal needs can drastically change day-to-day life for the better.
- Medicare, www.medicare.gov