Types of Bed Rail
There are several types of bed rail, the most common of which are:
Single-sided grab rails - sometimes known as 'bed sticks' these provide a simple, sturdy handle that rises up above the level of the mattress and attaches either to the bed frame or under the mattress. Such grab rails are used as an aid to sitting and standing. They are useful in double beds where only one person needs the support, or in beds where one side is set against a wall.
- Double-sided grab rails - these supports have handles that rise above the level of the mattress on both sides. Again, they are used as an aid to sitting and standing. Double sided bed rails are normally width adjustable to accommodate different mattress sizes.
Bed rails - sold either singly or in pairs, bed rails extend along the side of the bed for most of its length, thereby helping to prevent the user from rolling out of bed and suffering a fall. They are often adjustable for length and many have a folding mechanism that allows them to be lowered when the user is getting into and out of bed. As a result, they tend not to assist the user with sitting or standing so an additional aid may therefore be required.
- Extra high bed rails - these are useful if the bed is fitted with an extra thick pressure-relieving mattress, which might raise the user to a height that would make ordinary bed rails ineffective.
- Attachment - look for a system that is well suited to the bed. Some fasten (by means of adjustable clamps) to beds that have a solid frame; others are designed to fit under the mattress or under a divan.
- Obstruction - make sure that the chosen system is unlikely to interfere with other devices such as hoists or activities such as lateral transfers from a wheelchair.
- Aesthetics - bed rails and grab rails are available in various finishes and materials, from natural wood to chrome or black / white coated metal.
- Safety - look for a system that presents the least risk of limbs becoming trapped or pinched between the base of the rail and the top of the mattress.
Accessories and Alternatives
- Covers - metal rails can feel cold and hard to the touch, so customers might prefer to choose a system that is compatible with a cushioned fabric cover.
- Bed bumpers - these are cushions that attach to bedside rails, footboards and headboards to add softness and to help prevent people with reduced coordination from injuring themselves against hard surfaces.
- Bedside wedges - an alternative to bed rails, these triangular shaped foam cushions are placed along the edges of the bed to help prevent the user from rolling accidentally out of bed. They attach to a draw-sheet that is held against the bed using straps and quick release buckles.